Friday, April 8, 2011

Dia de los Muertos and Concrete Calaveras

Hi everyone,

Though we are still about twenty pages from the part of Trash that goes into detail about the holiday celebration of Dia de los Muertos, (the Day of the Dead) I wanted to take advantage of the fact that today is Poetry Friday! We are going to have an activity related to this significant portion of the book (which we will most likely end up reading as we complete this activity today, so it will all work out!)


So our characters are about to find themselves in the middle of a Latino celebration that takes place on November 2. Though it is not made clear in which country the events of the story are taking place, there are many countries which celebrate the Day of the Dead. For the purposes of our assignment, we'll stick with a loose interpretation of the traditions that the characters in the book follow on this day. 

The Day of the Dead is a holiday season which is set aside to honor family members or other loved ones who have passed away. The celebrations often take place at the very graves of the honored dead, and there are traditionally all manner of offerings and poems/prayers laid down to honor their memories and spirits.

In keeping with our penchant for integrating artwork with our poetry, we are going to make calaveras (decorated skulls) and conjure poems that are either based on characters in our story, or written for loved ones we've lost. 


You see, one type of offering brought to the graves by the families of the deceased is any variation on a calavera, a decorated skull that can be made out of anything from paper to lumps of painted sugar. These can be accompanied by poems as well--poems that are meant to convince the spirit of the dead to come back to the world of the living! 

To make our own poems, we need to consider who we want them written to. An interesting part of writing a calavera is that it can be addressed both to someone who is still alive or someone who has died. If you want, you can write a poem for someone in your family or a character in the story. If you choose the latter, you may need to mention things about the life of that character that you either mourn or appreciate.



Once the poems are written (instructions & details to follow) we will turn them into concrete poems in the shape of skulls, and do our decorating in and around the poems. It will be interesting to see whether or not anyone tries to make their calavera look like the character their poem is addressed to!

-Mr. Thomas

2 comments:

Sophia Olivia Mia said...

Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this.

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