Halloween was last week. Here in Querétaro, they celebrate Halloween as well as Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 2nd). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, as I had been told that kids do trick or treat — sometimes for two days — but a bit differently than in the U.S. For example, rather than saying “trick or treat,” they sing. Of course, since I was working, it didn’t matter. I didn’t see anyone.
Turns out that our condominium had a small party for the kids at the pool that evening. They asked what houses would participate so they would only go to those that were on the list. Phew. Although I did buy candy. I’ve been taking it to school for my students.
Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — is what I was looking forward to. I had been invited to go to an event in a cemetery. Everyone I told about the invite said I would absolutely love the experience. Unfortunately, I had to work (again) that night and missed out on the opportunity.
The tradition around Dia de los Muertos is fascinating. In fact, at my school, we participated in a school-wide competition that involved creating an elaborate altar with seven levels. Every level has certain requirements, including food and drink, religious images, use of specific materials (ash, seeds, flowers, candles, etc.), and the highly decorative skulls that are so popular.
There is even a bread called Pan de Muerto. It is a sweet bread with a depiction of bones on the top. It is very yummy.
Initially, I was assigned level 7 (the floor), and one of my students and I put together a little display. Ultimately, the school redid it, but I thought ours came out nicely.
Bottom line — Our School Won!
Here’s a pic of the schools alter:
The school also decorated the halls. Since the idea is to celebrate the dead, they had photos of famous English and Mexican writers and celebrities posted around the building, as well as hand decorated paper skulls and halloween decorations. It was very festive.
On Halloween, the school hosted a costume competition for the kids. They were very cute. All-in-all, it was a fun day.
Of course, Christmas is coming and they are already plotting the next competition — a door decorating contest.