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Hispanic Heritage
Day of the Dead



Day of the Dead
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.45

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    gravesite, muerto, socialize, teaching, ritual, colored, celebration, tempt, gravesites, compromise, generally, rather, natural, death, attend, member
     content words:    All Hallows Eve


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Day of the Dead
By Jane Runyon
  

1     It may seem rather strange to some people to have a day for dead people. It isn't strange at all to people of Hispanic heritage. You should know that this celebration started hundreds of years ago with the Aztecs. They devoted a whole month to the "Lady of the Dead." It took place during what is now the last half of July and the first half of August. It was a time when they remembered the children who had died.
 
2     When Spanish priests came to Mexico, they tried to make changes in this celebration. The first thing they did was to cut the ritual down to two days. They tried to move the days to the same time as All Hallows Eve. You might recognize this day as Halloween. The Mexican natives weren't too thrilled about turning their celebration into a Catholic celebration. A compromise was reached and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is now celebrated on the first two days of November.
 
3     The celebration has combined a bit of the early traditions with some of the Christian features the priests were teaching. Mexicans do not treat this day as a sad day. They use it as a way to celebrate the lives of those who have left them.

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