Oct. 31, Halloween. It’s debated whether this began as a Christian tradition, All Hallows’ Eve on the night before All Saints’ Day, or as Celtic tradition. In the United States, it inspires costumes for all ages and candy for the little ones—and not so little ones. Many of us have happy memories including Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF.
El día de los muertos, observed on Nov. 2 as a day for remembering our departed is NOT the same as Halloween. Many countries have traditions for remembering their loved ones. In Mexico, there can be a mix of a religious observance and prayers for the departed, and a commercial opportunity to sell small sugar skull figures and emphasize skeletons.
I wrote my book, The Remembering Day/El día de los muertos, to share a story I created about a family years ago in, perhaps, what is now Oaxaca, and how a grandmother might have instructed her granddaughter to start a remembering day. I so hope that the author note and book will be helpful to families, libraries, schools and all who work with children.