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How learning about Día de Muertos can benefit you as a Spanish learner

Learn about Día de Muertos, a beautiful Mexican holiday, and how it can benefit you as a Spanish learner.

Person dressed and made up as a Día de Muertos catrina pointing to text that says "How it benefits you as a Spanish learner." Decorated ofrenda in background.

There are surprisingly still a lot of misconceptions about Día de Muertos. Maybe you've heard some of them, too.

I've personally heard some Spanish students describe Día de Muertos as creepy or sacrilegious. They've also called it Mexican Halloween.

Día de Muertos is a beautiful and meaningful holiday. It's a time for families to remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away. It's definitely not a scary or disrespectful holiday.

I understand that some students are ill at ease with the word "altar" in the context of Día de Muertos.

It's important to remember that an ofrenda is not a religious altar in the traditional sense. It is a place to offer food, drinks, and other items to loved ones who have passed away.

The word "ofrenda" comes from the Spanish word "ofrecer," which means "to offer."

Ofrendas are not associated with sacrificial offerings or offerings to God. They're simply a way to show love and respect for deceased loved ones.

I know that some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of building an ofrenda.

However, it's important to remember that Día de Muertos is a celebration of life, not death.

Ofrendas are a way to remember and honor our loved ones, and to keep their memory alive.

If you're still uncomfortable with the idea of building an ofrenda, you can simply:

  • offer your loved one prayers, flowers, or other small tokens of your affection.

  • bring out the photo book and share special memories about them.

  • make their favorite food and drink to share with family.

  • go to their grave to pay your respects.

  • write a poem about them.

  • create an artwork that reminds you of them.

The most important thing is to do something that feels meaningful to you.

Benefits for you as a Spanish learner

Learning about Mexican culture and traditions, such as Día de Muertos, can benefit you as a Spanish learner in many ways.

It can help you to:

  • better understand and appreciate Mexican culture.

  • improve your Spanish language skills through learning and talking about the holiday in Spanish.

  • develop a deeper connection to your loved ones by sharing your memories of them.

  • connect with your own cultural heritage, if you have Mexican ancestors.

  • become more tolerant and understanding of other cultures.

  • develop a greater appreciation for life.

I encourage you to learn more about Día de Muertos. You can also talk to Mexican friends and family members about the holiday.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Woman dressed and made up as a Día de Muertos catrina

Jackie Amidon Donaldson helps women feel confident speaking Spanish, English, and Italian like a native in 90 days or less. Plus, she makes learning fun!


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