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). Continue reading