Teaching Students About Feliz Día de Los Muertos


Feliz Día de Los Muertos, or Happy Day of the Dead, is a vibrant and culturally rich celebration originating from Mexico. Traditionally observed from October 31 to November 2, it is a time to honor deceased loved ones, remember their lives, and recognize the continued bond between the living and the dead. In this article, we will explore ways to teach students about this significant cultural event in an engaging and respectful manner.

Lesson 1: Understanding the Origins and Significance

Begin by introducing students to the history and origins of Día de Los Muertos. This celebration has roots in ancient Aztec and Mesoamerican traditions that incorporated both pre-Hispanic indigenous beliefs and Catholicism brought by Spanish colonizers. It is essential for students to understand how these traditions merged to form present-day celebrations and recognize its significance for Mexican communities around the world.

Lesson 2: Symbolism and Imagery

The colorful and intricate imagery associated with Día de Los Muertos can captivate young learners. Discuss symbols like sugar skulls (calaveras), marigold flowers (cempasúchil), altars (ofrendas), candles, incense, food, and photographs of deceased loved ones. Explain their meanings and how they contribute to honoring the dead during this celebration.

Lesson 3: Calaveras Poems

Calaveras poems are written for Día de Los Muertos and are often humorous verses that lovingly mock the living or remember the dead. Introduce your students to several examples of these poems and ask them to write their own light-hearted calavera poem either in remembrance of a lost loved one or as a playful tribute to someone still alive.

Lesson 4: Art Projects

Engaging students in hands-on art projects can be an effective way to promote understanding of cultural traditions. You might encourage students to create their own paper mache sugar skulls, decorate sugar skull cookies, or produce tissue paper marigolds. By participating in these activities, students will gain an even deeper appreciation for the symbolism and customs involved in Día de Los Muertos.

Lesson 5: Cultural Sensitivity

It’s crucial that educators ensure the classroom remains a respectful environment when teaching about these celebrations. Address possible cultural appropriation issues and emphasize the importance of embracing and understanding other cultures while being mindful of their significance. Creating a safe space for students to share their own cultural traditions can foster empathy and tolerance among classmates.


Teaching students about Feliz Día de Los Muertos can be a fascinating opportunity for them to learn about traditions beyond their immediate experiences. Through history lessons, creative writing, art projects, and discussions on cultural sensitivity, educators can guide students towards gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for this vibrant Mexican celebration. By bridging gaps of understanding and embracing diversity, we teach our students the valuable lesson of respect for all cultures and traditions.

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