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Teaching in Mexico…. Halloween and Day of the Dead

Halloween, as it is celebrated in the United States, is a holiday, which derived from the Druids, a learned and priestly class that existed in Roman times.  Little is known about these people except that they were an elaborate political and religious organization, and that they worshiped many gods.  The day of Saman was one of those celebrations.  On that day, the Druids believed that the Lord of Death called together the souls of the wicked who had died during that past year.

In the United States, Halloween, as many other holidays, has become so commercialized that most people are not really aware of the history behind it.  Mexico’s Day of the Dead has remained much more traditional, though Halloween is often celebrated here now as well.  Both holidays are centered around death, and both are influenced by each particular country’s view on death.  I have included below two poems about death that were written by one of my ninth grade students, Federico Berrueto.

Death Is…

Death is black.
It is our shadow.
It will always be with us, 

And when we no longer have it, 

We go to the light.


It is true sometimes we are scared of our own shadow;
We are also scared of death.
But being afraid of our shadow is like being scared of the day, 

So why don’t we love death as much as we love the day?

Death is a part of life;
Death is our daily breakfast
And nothing will keep it away.
Death is a way of seeing life.

This was her day…

She is dead
                As cold as stone.
This was her day –
                   The day she left us.

 But we know she’ll come back
                       And take a friend of mine
And it will be his day –
                      The day he leaves me.             

And I know they’ll be back
 And take me;
I’ll be as cold as stone.

        I’ll have my day
The day I leave you.

 

Las Mañanitas

Las Mañanitas is the traditional Mexican birthday song. It is so popular that it is now sung ...

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