I love everything about Mexico, their vibrant rich culture, their strong family bonds, the residents, the food (duh!) and the land is just beautiful. There is just something about Mexico that ignites my spirit.
Mexico is also the country where the 5 of us started our world domination. 3 years ago, desperate for an adventure, we drove 5 hours to Chicago to take advantage of $159 return flights to Cozumel. We packed nothing but our backpacks, wandered the streets, boarded the public ferry to the mainland and eventually took a car across the Yucatan peninsula (getting lost several times) exploring all the local sights. When I think back now, that was pretty gutsy of us. Our first international trip and we took our 3 kids backpacking across Mexico!
I have heard several people gasp when I tell them this story, after all Mexico has a reputation for being “unsafe”. But I can speak from experience, our family was welcomed into theirs with open arms.
Mexico holds a special place in our hearts.
So fast forward to today, when awarded the opportunity to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in San Diego (the most Mexican we could get without crossing the border) all 5 of us were all over it.
Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday where they honour the lives of their loved ones that have passed. They see death as a natural part of the life cycle, so it is a day of celebrating and encouragement; not sadness.
They put up the photos of those who have passed on their ofrenda (mantle) and on the day of the dead, their loved ones cross back to the land of the living to celebrate with their family members. For this reason, it is a big party – and one that we were honoured to partake in.
We dined on homemade tamales (Charlie approved!) which were absolutely delicious and freshly made ice cream while browsing the stalls and local art.
We listened to authentic Mariachi music, danced the day away and each made our own sugar skulls. Lily even noted that Charlie’s carried a striking resemblance to Frida – which I must say – was bang on. It really did!
The festivities come to a climax once the sun has set and the locals start a procession. They light the torches, bang their drums and sing all the way down the road to the cemetery – where the party really begins.
It was an experience we will never forget. So moving.
We continued the learning once we got home and made our very own sugar skull masks and dove deeper into the holiday itself. I love this about homeschooling, we can learn from a book, and then get real hands on experience to solidify it all.
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