The phenomenon of Día de los Muertos can be traced through Mesoamerica, where death initiated a journey of the soul through the nine levels of Chicunamictlán (The Land of the Dead). Origins can also be traced through Europe, where the popes of four centuries grappled with paganism, eventually establishing All Saints Day and All Souls Days on November 1st and 2nd.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) has launched a Día de los Muertos website, exploring these fascinating origins, including the origins of specific elements like ofrendas and calaveras. The Día de los Muertos website also features lesson plans for ofrendas (all grade levels), calaveras (elementary), papel picado (all grade levels), and sugar skulls (all grade levels).
Those in the Albuquerque area can see what the NHCC has to offer in person by attending some upcoming Día de los Muertos events:
- Vamos al Museo! Saturday, October 19, 2013, 10:30-2:30 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Education Building
On the first Saturday of the month, the Education Program invites families and educators for a short tour of the Art Museum, followed by a hands-on, artist-led, art-making session inspired by the tour. This is a free event and limited to 30 participants each session. This Saturday we will be making sugar skulls!! Thought sugar skulls were difficult to make? Let us show you how fun they really are! For more information please contact Erica Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Despedida and Community Celebration: Friday, November 1, 2013, 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Education Building/Performing Arts Building
Come join us for Music, Poetry, Mexican Chocolate and Pan de Muerto. This is a great event for all ages. Tour the ofrendas around the NHCC campus, enjoy music, traditional foods, and sharing of special and heartfelt memories. A free event for the whole community. For more information please contact Erica Garcia at email@example.com
Incidentally, the Vamos a Leer crew is in the process of building our own ofrenda, dedicated to victims of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile from 1973 – 1990. If you happen to make it to the NHCC, you can check out our ofrenda and other amazing ofrendas which should all be displayed by early next week.
All the best,