Los Dias De Los Muertos

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					  Harvest Festivals Resource Packet

DIRECTIONS: Everything you need to perform your
research can be found in this packet. Read through it
carefully, and do not lose it.

This Packet Belongs to: _______________________
                            Harvest Festivals Unit Guidelines

What is this project?
      This project will give you the opportunity to research Halloween-like celebrations from
around the world. What is a Halloween-type celebration? It’s a celebration that has similar
themes to Halloween—themes like: the celebration of changing seasons, celebrating life,
warding off evil spirits, death, and preparing for winter.

What should we research?
       Your group will be researching two Halloween-like celebrations: Day of the Dead and
Pyanopsion. (You’ll research Walpurgisnacht a bit more extensively.) In a moment, you’ll
receive an “Organizational Chart” to help you figure out just how to do this, but in the
meantime, remember this bit of advice: FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY. If you do,
everything will work out quite smoothly.

What will our final project look like?
       On October 31st, Halloween, our class will have our annual Harvest Day Festival. This
is a day to share some fine foods, interesting customs, and of course—all the research we’ve
been conducting for the previous few weeks. In a nutshell, here’s what will occur:
        Your group will present a PowerPoint lecture in front of the class to share your
           expertise on Day of the Dead.
        Your group will demonstrate a custom of Day of the Dead or bring in a hand-made
           craft used during Day of the Dead celebrations.
        Your group will bring in a food/drink associated with the celebration of Day of the
           Dead—enough for the whole class to share. (You must also bring in a copy of all
           ingredients in case some students are allergic to certain foods.)
        You will create a Venn-Diagram on Poster Board that demonstrates the similarities
           and differences between Day of the Dead and Pyanopsion.

Why are we doing this?
     Put simply, this project will help us with a variety of skills. For example:
      We will be introduced to a variety of cultures from around the world.
      We will gain independent research skills.
      We will practice presenting information in front of a group.
      We will hone our ability to organize information into a clear, written form.
      We will practice expository writing.
      We will gain additional experience in reading challenging, non-fiction works.
      We will be introduced to new technological skills.
   We will make valuable real-life connections.
                             How to Get Started

Directions: Please follow the below instructions in order. As mentioned on the previous
page, it’s very important that you don’t skip around. Doing so will cause you some
confusion, and you might accidentally forget about certain parts. Good luck, and have

    1. Look at the “Organizational Chart” on page 4 of this packet. Read through the
       questions on this sheet very carefully.

    2. Take out four sheets of paper. At the top of the first, write Definition. At the top
       of the second, write History. At the top of the third, write Customs. At the top of
       the fourth, write My Interests. These will be used to write down answers to
       “Organizational Chart” questions.

    3. Begin researching Day of the Dead. Whenever you find an answer to a particular
       question, write it down on the appropriate sheet of paper. REMEMBER: MANY

    4. When you have finished researching Day of the Dead—which should take a
       couple days to do thoroughly—go to page 15 in this packet for the Pyanopsion
       “Organizational Chart” and continue the same process.

    5. When you have finished researching Pyanopsion, create a Venn-Diagram that
       demonstrates the similarities and differences of Day of the Dead and
       Pyanopsion. This should be done on poster board or two sheets of large
       construction paper.

    6. When you have finished the Venn-Diagram, find the “PowerPoint Guidelines” and
       “How to Make a PowerPoint” sheets at the end of this packet. Read through
       these very carefully, and ask questions if needed.

    7. Begin making your PowerPoint for DAY OF THE DEAD ONLY. Do NOT make a
       PowerPoint for Pyanopsion. Make sure you divide up the work equally, and
       follow all instructions on the “PowerPoint Guidelines” sheet.

    8. When you have finished creating your presentations, rehearse what you will say
       to the class. Unpracticed presentations are usually unprofessional.

    9. Talk to your group members about making the food and crafts for presentation
       day. Make arrangements outside of school to finish these items on time.

   10. Fill out the self-assessment rubric at the end of this packet.
       Day of the Dead Research Organizational Chart

Definition of the Holiday
       In a few sentences or less, what is the main idea behind this holiday? In other words, what is its
       Which countries/lands celebrate this holiday? (Remember, different countries might celebrate
        under different names.)
       Where are these countries/lands located?
       What are some of the different names of the celebration around the world?
       How long is it celebrated?
       When is it celebrated?

History of the Celebration
       What’s the history behind this holiday?
           o Where did it start?
           o When did it start?
           o Why did it start?
           o Who started it?
           o Are there any legends or myths about how this holiday started? What are they?

The Customs
       What are some customs or traditions that occur during this holiday and the time leading up to it?
       What is the reason for these customs? In other words, why were these customs created?
        When were these customs started? (Note: You will only be able to find the answer to this question
        for SOME of the customs.)
       Which customs have SYMBOLIC meaning?
       What are some foods and drinks that are eaten/drunk during this celebration?
       What crafts, art, toys, or structures are built, used, or played with during these celebrations?
       If applicable, how is this holiday celebrated differently in different countries?
       How is it celebrated the same?
       How is the celebration similar to Halloween?
       How is it different from Halloween?

Your Interests
       What else did you find out about this holiday/ celebration? (Please list things that were not
        mentioned in the above areas of this chart.)

MEXICO – El Dia De Los Muertos

         Los Dias de los Muertos (the Days of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that honors
the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and All Saints Day.
The celebration is mostly one of happiness, even though relatives remember loved ones
who have passed away. In fact, some people believe that during Dias de los Muertos, the
spirits of the dead join their families and loved ones, and this idea is cause for
celebration. Besides in Mexico, it is usually celebrated in some parts of the United
States, Ecuador, Guatemala, and other Central/South American countries.

       On the Day of the Dead, many townspeople dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies
and skeletons and have parades that go through the various towns of Mexico. Street
merchants and other participants of the parades throw flowers, fruits, and candies to
people on the sidelines.

        Besides parades, people also celebrate through ofrendas (altars) inside their
homes. (This kind of altar is a table where people can remember and pay tribute to
deceased loved ones.) The ofrenda's are made up with flowers, bread, fruit and candy.
Pictures of the deceased family members are also added. Then, in the late afternoon,
special all-night candles are lit, and relatives remember their loved ones who have passed
away. It’s interesting to note that this Mexican custom of Erecting Day of the Dead altars
has caught on north of the border, in some areas of the United States, where the altars
serve as the focus of ancestor rituals and memorials.

        The next day the families travel to the cemetery. They arrive with hoes, picks and
shovels. They also carry flowers, candles, blankets, and picnic baskets. They have come
to clean the graves of their loved ones. The gravesites are weeded and the dirt raked
smooth. The Crypts are scrubbed and swept. Colorful flowers, bread, fruit and candles
are placed on the graves. Some people even bring guitars and radios to listen to. (The
families will spend the entire night in the cemeteries.) Then the graves of the dead are
decorated with flower arrangements, and the area is covered with cempazuchifl petals.
Candles and incense are also burned. (The candlelight, along with the sweet smells of the
incense, are believed to help the returning souls find their way back home.) Then,
through the night, people talk, eat, and play music. Street vendors also sell fruits and
other special foods that have become a part of the celebration, including pan de muerto,
amaranth seed skulls with raisin eyes and peanut teeth, candied marzipan skulls, roasted
corn cobs, and fruit punch with chunks of fruit and rind.

       Back in town, food is found everywhere. Much of it has been made into the
shapes of skulls and skeletons—chocolate skulls, marzipan coffins, and white chocolate
skeletons. Plates of tamales are prepared; pies made of corn with different fillings are
made; beverages—usually the favorite drinks of the deceased—are poured; lots of
chocolate is put out; bowls of local fruits like chayotes, limes, and avocadoes are eaten;
and rounded loaves of bread called pan de muertos (bread of the dead) are baked—
sometimes human shaped—and decorated with pretend bones.

        People also make crafts. Handmade skeleton ―dolls‖ called calacas are also
popular. Calacas usually show an active and joyful afterlife. They show skeletons that
are musicians, generals on horseback, and even brides in their white bridal gowns
marching down the aisles with their boney grooms. In addition, people also create and
wear costumes. Often times, they dress up like skeletons, themselves! Other ways that
people celebrate include lighting bonfires, setting off firecrackers, and hanging lanterns
on trees to guide the souls of their dead loved ones home.

        The celebration of Los Dias de los Muertos comes from the ancient Aztec Indians,
as well as the people of Mexico, and it’s been going on for hundreds of years! (It also
has a bit of history in Celtic, Roman, and Christian traditions, because the Spanish
brought some of their own traditions to Mexico when they came over from Europe. Way
back when, the Aztec Indians made offerings to the dead which consisted of food and
other supplies that would help them make their after-death journey through nine
underground passages. If the dead made it successfully through these undergrounds
passages, they would be in their final resting place. In a similar vein, today many
Mexicans celebrate Los Dias de los Muertos to honor their loved ones who have passed
away. And just like the Aztecs, many Mexican families create altars for their deceased
family and friends.

                Dia de los Muertos Recipes
Pan De Muerto (Bread of the Dead)

  * 1/2 cup butter
  * 1 1/4 cup water
  * 6 cups flour
  * 2 packets dry yeast
  * 1 teaspoon salt
  * 3 teaspoons whole anise seed
  * 2 tablespoons orange zest
  * 3/4 cup sugar
  * 4 large eggs
  * Glaze (see below)
Bring all ingredients to room temperature (except for the water which should
be very warm) before beginning.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and 1/2 cup of the
flour. In a separate bowl combine the eggs and the water.

Add the egg/water mixture to the first mixture, and add in another 1/2 cup of
the flour. Add in the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour. Continue to add the
flour 1 cup at a time until dough forms.

Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute. Cover with a slightly damp
dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Bring out dough and punch it down. Remove about 1/4 of it and use it to
make bone shapes to drape across the loaf (see below.) Or divide the dough
into smaller pieces to create other bone shapes. Let the shaped dough rise for
1 more hour.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes for smaller loaves and up to 45
minutes for larger loaves.


Bring to a boil- 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice. Brush on bread
and then sift some additional sugar over the top.

Mix 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 1/3 cup sugar with 2 egg
whites. Brush on bread during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Bring to a boil- 1/4 cup piloncillo, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberry juice and 2
tablespoons orange zest. Brush on bread after bread has cooled.

The most common bone decorations are very simple. Sometimes it's just a
matter of forming ball shapes and pressing them into the loaf in a line. You
could also take a piece of dough, roll it into a long cylinder, and place a ball at
each end. You can get much more detailed if you like, but even a slightly
"knobby" looking loaf will get the idea across.
Calabaza En Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)
  * 5 lb pumpkin (approx.)
  * 4 cinnamon sticks
  * zest of one orange
  * juice of orange
  * 2 lb piloncillo
  * 4 cups of water

Cut off the stem off of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, and scrape out
the seeds and stringy parts. Cut each piece in half lengthwise again and
again until you have 8-10 long pieces of pumpkin. Cut the skin off of each
piece, and then cut the flesh into approximately 1 to 2-inch pieces.

Place into a large saucepan and bring piloncillo, orange juice, orange zest,
cinnamon sticks and water to a boil. Carefully add in pumpkin pieces and
reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 2 hours or until pumpkin is
fork tender and the rest of the ingredients have reduced to a thick glaze.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving.

If you don't have piloncillo, substitute 1 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup

You may leave the skin on the pumpkin.

Other Side Dishes could be black beans, chilied corn, or red rice.

Sugar Skulls

   Granulated Sugar (adjust amount depending on how many skulls you
    will be making. Approximately 1 cup per 6 small sugar skulls, 4
    medium or 1 large whole skull.)
   Large bowl
   Water
   Sugar Skull molds (shape and size of your preference. Some are faces
    only and some include two parts that you put together to make a whole
   Meringue powder, 1 teaspoon for each cup of sugar. (Helps to hold the
    sugar together.)
   Powdered sugar for the icing.
   Paste food coloring to color the icing.
   Icing decorator bags
   A large, dry area for the skulls to dry in. (Once for the sugar to dry in
    the mold, and once for the icing to dry.)
   Any other decoration you like such as foil, beads or feathers

For every cup of sugar, mix in 1 teaspoon of meringue powder and sprinkle 1
teaspoon of water on top. Work the water into the sugar with your fingers
until the mixture feels like cool beach sand. This takes a few minutes, so be

patient. The sugar is ready when you can press your finger or thumb into it
and the print will stay.

Fill the mold with sugar and press firmly with the palm of your hand. When
the skull is full and pressed into mold, use the back of a knife to scrape off
excess sugar and flatten back. Lightly re-press the scraped surface to smooth

Place a piece of cardboard or flat plate over the sugar skull. Hold the skull on
the plate tightly and flip it over. Set the plate down and carefully remove the
mold. Let the skulls dry for 12-24 hours.

In a large mixer, mix 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup meringue powder and 2 pounds
of powdered sugar until icing peaks or about 9 minutes.

Separate the icing into smaller portions (disposable cups and popsicle sticks
work well for this) and use the paste food coloring to color the icing.
Place the icing in the icing decorator bags. Snip the end of each bag when
you're ready to decorate. Start very small with the snip, you can make it
bigger if necessary.

Use your icing to decorate the skulls. If you're adding foil, beads or feathers,
use the icing as a glue to attach them. If you add non-edible items to the
skull, do not attempt to eat it! Note- If you have any larger 2-piece skulls,
use the icing to "glue" the pieces together.

Let the icing dry until it becomes hard. Then you can touch and display them
as you like.

      Meringue powder cannot be omitted. Some people use egg white but
       with mixed results. Sometimes they do not want to dry.
      Try to make sugar skulls on a very dry day. If it is too humid outside,
       they may not dry well. If this happens put them in a warm oven for 2
       hours to see if that helps.
      For the larger skulls, you may scoop out some of the front and back
       pieces to make the finished skull lighter. Let the skull dry for 2 hours,
       then scoop out a hole in each one leaving a 1/2 inch solid flat border
       around the edge to glue them together. The scoopings may be re-used
       to make more skulls.
      Lightly spritz sugar with water if sugar gets to dry while working.



When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico they encountered two celebrations
honoring death—the fall harvest and the new year. For more than 500 years,
the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead) presided over Aztec harvest
rituals using fires and incense, costumes of animal skins, images of their
dead, and offerings of ceramics, personal goods, flowers and foods, drink and

While the church attempted to transform the joyous celebration to a suitably
tragic image of death and a serious day of prayer focusing attention and
reflection on the saints and martyrs, the people of Mexico did not fully adopt
the early priests' ideas, and by keeping their familiar ceremonies, All Saint's
Day and All Soul's Day evolved into the celebrations that today honor the
dead with color, candles, joy


The Aztec, Mayan and other indigenous traditions have enriched the
Mexican's attitude about death. From these ancestors has come the belief
that souls continue to exist after death, resting placidly in Mictlan, the land
of the dead.

Daily life in ancient Mexico was so uncertain and difficult that death was
expected at every turn. Death, in fact was revered, believed to be the ultimate
experience of life, life's own reward, even welcomed as a better option when
people are struggling for survival.


To honor the dead, Mexican citizens prepare wonderful alters in their homes.
The act of preparing an altar by placing photographs, flowers, candles,
favorite foods and drink of the loved one provides a special time to remember,
and to transform grief into acceptance. The living invite the spirits of the
family to return home for a few hours of laughter, tears and memories.

An important aspect of the holiday is the closure that it provides for families
who have lost a loved one during the previous year. Without embalming,
burial must take place within 24 hours of death. During this short period, the
body is laid out in the coffin at home, surrounded by candles, flowers, family
and friends. While the family and friends gather, and sit in vigil during the
night, then return for another week to recite the rosary, there is often little
time for acceptance or reality. Preparing for the return of the spirit each fall
lets the family remember and honor their dead, and gives them a chance to

Some families prepare the altar of offerings at the family grave site, lighting
a candle for each dead one, remembering the names, and placing flowers or
coronas (wreaths) at the cemetery. Many stay to visit, eat, drink and pray
while they keep a vigil during the night. All night, throughout the cemetery
there is a grand family reunion of huge extended families, alive and dead, as
one by one, through stories, memories and dreams, the dead return. On this
night, those who wait realize the importance of living to be well remembered,
working to be well respected and loving to be well missed.

Once the night has passed, and the spirits have returned to their world, the
ones remaining known that for another year they have triumphed in the
struggle of life and that the only way to celebrate death is to live with
courage. They have faced death and have won, saying, "Look here, you old
bald skull - you fleshless one - you didn't get me - I have survived to live
again today."


Even families with very limited budgets spare no expense when preparing
the altar to honor their family. They want their spirits to enjoy the offerings
and to return each year to continue this special spiritual companionship.

The altar is prepared in a place of honor in the home, using empty boxes on a
table to form a pyramid of three or more levels, then a white tablecloth covers
it all.

Four candles are placed on the top level to represent the cardinal directions.
A candle is lit for each dead family member, and one extra so that no one is
left out. The candles, which represent hope and faith, burn during the night,
so that there is no darkness.

Copal is the resinous sap of a Mexican tree, burned as incense since the time
of the Aztecs as an offering to the gods. On the Day of the Dead altar, the
scent attracts spirits, drawing them home. It is also used to cleanse the area,
and to ward off evil.

While most altars are laden with the favorite foods, sweets, drinks, and
harvest fruits of each family spirit, even the most basic altar includes these
basic needs:

  * WATER to quench the thirst and for purification
  * SALT to season the food and for purification
  * BREAD to represent the food needed for survival

A washbasin, soap, towel, mirror and comb are placed nearby so the spirits
can clean up when they return.

The hand crafted skeletons, Calaveras, are funny and friendly rather than
frightening or spooky. They represent the beloved dead ones, their
occupations and hobbies. As they are placed on the altar, the delightful
skeleton figures bring back fond memories and cause the grieving ones to
smile. The figures with the smells of favorite foods, help the spirits find the
right house.

Colorful tissue paper, papel picado, is cut into intricate designs and strung to
flutter over around the altar. This custom comes from the Aztecs who used
paper banners in rituals. The colors used represent:

  * Black for the Pre-Hispanic religions and land of the dead
  * Purple from the Catholic calendar to signify pain, suffering,
    grief, mourning
  * Pink for celebration
  * White for purity and hope
  * Yellow and Orange for the marigold, the sun, light
  * Red representing for Christians, the blood of Jesus; and for the
    indigenous, the life blood of humans and animals

Flowers, symbolizing the brevity of life, are massed and fashioned into
garlands, wreaths and crosses to decorate the altar and the grave. The
marigold is the most traditional flower of the season. In Aztec times it was
called the cempasuchil, the flower of 400 lives.

The fragrance of the cempasuchil leads the spirits home. Sometimes paths of
the petals lead out of the cemetery and to the house to guide the spirits. A
cross of marigold petals is formed on the floor so that as the spirit approaches
the alter, he will step on the cross and expel his guilt.

ARTICLE #3: Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos

Every year, on November 1st (All Saints Day) and 2nd (All Souls Day),
something unique takes place in many areas of Mexico: Day of the Dead
festivities. While it's strange for most of us to accept the fact that "death" and
"festivities" can go hand-in-hand, for most Mexicans, the two are intricately
entwined. This all stems from the ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico

(Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomí) who believed that the souls of the
dead return each year to visit with their living relatives - to eat, drink and be
merry. Just like they did when they were living.

Tempered somewhat by the arrival of the Spaniards in the 15th century,
current practice calls for the deceased children (little angels) to be
remembered on the previous day (November 1st, All Saints Day) with toys
and colorful balloons adorning their graves. And the next day, All Souls Day,
adults who have died are honored with displays of the departed's favorite
food and drinks, as well as ornamental and personal belongings. Flowers,
particularly the zempasúchil (an Indian word for a special type of marigold)
and candles, which are placed on the graves, are supposed to guide the spirits
home to their loved ones.

Other symbols include the elaborately-decorated pan de muerto (a rich coffee
cake decorated with meringues made to look like bones), skull-shaped candies
and sweets, marizpan death figures and papier maché skeletons and skulls.
(the Nahua speaking peoples of pre-columbian Mexico saw the skull as a
symbol of life - not death.) Today, these macabre symbols and other similar
items fill the shops and candy stalls by mid October. During this time, homes
are often decorated in the same manner as the graves.

This may all seem morbid and somewhat ghoulish to those who are not part
of that culture. But, for Mexicans who believe in the life/death/rebirth
continuum, it's all very natural. this is not to say that they treat death
lightly. They don't. It's just that they recognize it, mock it, even defy it. Death
is part of life and, as such, it's representative of the Mexican spirit and
tradition which says: "Don't take anything lying down - even death!"

The family has decorated this gravesite with favorite items. First the graves
and altars are prepared by the entire family, whose members bring the
departed's favorite food and drink. Candles are lit, the ancient incense copal
is burned, prayers and chants for the dead are intoned and then drinks and
food are consumed in a party/picnic-like atmosphere. At 6:00 pm, the bells
begin to ring (every 30 seconds), summoning the dead. They ring throughout
the night. At sunrise, the ringing stops and those relatives who have kept the
night-long vigil, go home.

The most vivid and moving Day of the Dead celebrations take place on this
island of Janitzio in Lago de Pátzcuaro. Here, at the crack of dawn (on
November 1st) the Purepechan Indians get the festivities going with a
ceremonial duck hunt. At midnight, the cooked duck and other zesty edibles
are brought to the cemetery in the flickering light of thousands of candles.
Those visitors who come are in for an awesome spectacle as the women pray
and the men chant throughout the chilly night. Other candle-lit ceremonies
take place in the nearby towns of Tzintzuntzan (the ancient capital of the
Purepechan people), Jaráuaro and Erongarícuaro. If you're thinking of

witnessing this annual spectacle next year, it's best to make reservations
right now since available hotels do fill up quickly.

Editor's Note - Most of the nation celebrates El Día de los Muertos, but here's
a list of Mexican cities & villages which are well-known for their observance
of the celebrations; Oaxaca, Patzcuaro (Michaocan), Huejutla (State of
Hidalgo), Chiapa de Corzo (Chiapas), Jesús María (Nayarit), Míxquic
(Federal District) and even Tecate (Baja California). • Story compiled and
written by Marvin H. Perton

        Pyanopsion Research Organizational Chart

Definition of the Holiday
      In a few sentences or less, what is the main idea behind this holiday? In other words, what is its
      Which countries/lands celebrate this holiday? (Remember, different countries might celebrate
       under different names.)
      Where are these countries/lands located?
      What are some of the different names of the celebration around the world?
      How long is it celebrated?
      When is it celebrated?

History of the Celebration
      What’s the history behind this holiday?
          o Where did it start?
          o When did it start?
          o Why did it start?
          o Who started it?
          o Are there any legends or myths about how this holiday started? What are they?

The Customs
      What are some customs or traditions that occur during this holiday and the time leading up to it?
      What is the reason for these customs? In other words, why were these customs created?
       When were these customs started? (Note: You will only be able to find the answer to this question
       for SOME of the customs.)
      Which customs have SYMBOLIC meaning?
      What are some foods and drinks that are eaten/drunk during this celebration?
      What crafts, art, toys, or structures are built, used, or played with during these celebrations?
      If applicable, how is this holiday celebrated differently in different countries?
      How is it celebrated the same?
      How is the celebration similar to Halloween?
      How is it different from Halloween?

Your Interests
      What else did you find out about this holiday/ celebration? (Please list things that were not
       mentioned in the above areas of this chart.)

     In ancient Greece, a well-known harvest festival took place every October through
November. The celebration, Pyanopsion, was created to worship Demeter, the Greek
goddess who taught mankind how to tend the soil and grow crops and other plants.

       Why did the ancient Greeks feel the need to worship Demeter? The story goes like
this: In ancient times, Demeter's daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped by Hades, the god
of the underworld. Demeter was so upset by this that she withdrew her powers from the
earth, refusing to eat or feed the world until the other gods saved her daughter. When she
did this, winter came to the world, and no plants or grains could grow, causing mankind
to be cold and hungry. After a while, Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods, decided to fix the
problem by coming up with a fair solution. He decided that, because Persephone had
become Hades wife while in the underworld, she would have to spend six months of
every year with him. The other six months, she would be allowed to return to the earth
with her mother, Demeter. All the gods agreed to Zeus’ plan, and Demeter was so happy
that she gave the gift of agriculture to mankind. But Demeter didn’t stay very happy for
long. Whenever Persephone had to go back down to the underworld, she would grow sad
again, and winter would come to the world. Whenever Persephone returned, however,
Demeter became happy again, and spring and summer would come back to the world.
After a while, people began to see these times as the changing seasons, and they would
pray to Demeter during Pyanopsion to bless their crops and protect them during the long
winter months.

      Before the festival of Pyanopsion would begin, a preparatory nighttime ritual, the
Stenia, would take place. During this ritual, women would insult each other in terrible
ways. They would use foul language, say mean things to each other—anything that they
though might make the Greek goddess Demeter laugh. Why did they do this? Well, do
remember how Demeter became sad whenever her daughter was forced back down into
the underworld for six months? The ancient Greeks believed that this ritual of insults,
name calling, and bad language would make her happy again by causing her to laugh.

       On the 11-13 of Pyanopsion, Greek women took a break from their usually
homebound lives, and they participated in the autumn planting festival known as
Thesmophoria. Although the practices are still a mystery to this day, archaeologists do
know that these women prayed for Demeter’s help in having a good harvest. Married
women, with all the supplies they would need for two nights and three days, would climb
a hill and build leafy shelters where they could live temporarily. They would then furnish
these huts with mats made from plants and begin the other Pyanopsion rituals.

      On the second day of Thesmophoria, the woman would fast. In other words, they
would refuse to eat in honor of Demeter. This was done to show personal sacrifice for
their beliefs.

      Finally, on the third day of Thesmophoria, there was a nighttime torchlight
ceremony. A feast would be held as the fasting was now over, and offerings to the Greek
goddess Demeter were made. These were often gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit, and pigs.

The ancient Greeks hoped that Demeter would be grateful for these gifts and grant them a
good harvest with plenty of strong, delicious crops.


      In class, Pyanopsion recipes might best be demonstrated through foods such as
grains, nuts, olives, breads, fruits, and other foods that come from the earth. After all, the
ancient Greeks used this festival to worship their goddess of the soil and grains. What
better way to show that than to bring in foods that come straight from the ground?

                   PowerPoint Presentation Instructions

1. Each group will divide the work from this project equally and create TWO PowerPoint
   presentations. The first will be about the definition of the holiday and the history behind it.
   The second will be about the customs of the holiday and your interests in it.
2. Only two computers should be used per group when creating the presentations.
3. All group members must be involved with creating the presentations. PART OF YOUR
4. Check off each of the below steps as you finish.


1. All slides must be done in color. Size and color of fonts should be chosen by how easy they
   are to see against the background. Remember—your audience needs to be able to see what’s
   going on.

2. Your presentations must be divided into sub-topics. (For example, all history notes should
   go together under one sub-topic, and all customs notes should go together under another sub-
   topic.) As mentioned above, presentation #1 should be about the definition and history of
   your holiday. Presentation #2 should be about the customs and special interests of your

3. Each sub-topic in your presentation must have its own slide color. For example, all slides
   that talk about the history sub-topic might be red, and all slides that talk about the customs
   sub-topic might be blue, etc.

4. Every sub-topic slide should have a title at the top that tells which sub-topic is being

5.   You must have a title page that lists the following:
        The name of the country (or countries) being researched AND a picture
        The name of the celebration being researched (Halloween, Day of the Dead, etc.)
        The names of all group members who participated in the PowerPoint

6. Every sub-topic must have at least two or three pictures to go with it. It may be a good idea
   to put these pictures on different slides than your information so you can make them bigger.

7. You must have at least 4 pictures in your presentation that take up an entire slide. In other
   words, these pictures should be so big that you don’t have anything else on the slide except
   the picture. Be careful, though. If you make them too big, they’ll be blurry.

8. DO NOT use any of the sound effect tools for this PowerPoint presentation. Later on, if you
   would like to add music from the culture you’re researching, I can show you how to do this.

9. DO NOT use any of the animation or slide transition tools.

                          Basic PowerPoint Presentation Instructions

DIRECTIONS: The below instructions will help you figure out how to create a basic PowerPoint

1.   How do I get started?
      Click on the PowerPoint icon on the desktop, and then click the big ―P‖ that pops up.
      Choose the type of slide you would like to start off with by clicking on it and then clicking ―okay.‖

2.   How do I decorate the background of the slide?
      Click on ―format‖ and then ―background.‖ Click on the tiny down arrow for a list of colors you can use to
        color your slide.

3.   How do I add pictures to a slide?
      Click on the picture you want to use, AND HOLD THE MOUSE CLICKER DOWN UNTIL A POP-UP
        WINDOW COMES UP. Drag the cursor down to ―copy image as‖ and then let go of the mouse clicker.
      Click on the slide you want to put the picture on.
      Click ―edit‖ at the top of your screen, drag down to ―paste,‖ and release the clicker button. Your picture
        should appear.

4.   How do I change the font size, color, or appearance?
      Click on ―format‖ at the top of the screen and drag down to ―font.‖ Make any necessary changes, and then
        click ―okay.‖

5.   How do I create a text box for me to write in?
        In the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen, there’s a picture of something that looks like this: AI
         Click on this image.
        Click on your PowerPoint slide, BUT KEEP HOLDING THE BUTTON DOWN. Drag the cursor to the
         right. You should see a rectangular box starting to grow in size.
        When the box has reached the size you want, let go of the mouse button.
        Click inside the box to start typing your text.

6.   How do I start a new slide:
      Click on ―insert‖ and then drag down to ―new slide.‖

7.   How do I make a picture or text box fit on a slide?
      Click on the image or text box. When you do this, little white squares should appear around it.
      Click on one of the right squares AND HOLD THE BUTTON DOWN.
      Move the cursor to change the size of the image or text box, and then let go of the button.

8.   How do I check the spelling?
      Click on ―tools,‖ and drag down to ―spelling.‖
9.   How do I delete a picture or text box?
      Click on the image or text box. When you do this, little white squares should appear around it. Hit the
        ―delete‖ button.

                                 Presentation Grading Rubric

    Directions: This sheet will be used to grade your Halloween presentations on
    Wednesday. Please make sure you have completed all necessary requirements.

    GROUP GRADE – 30 Points Total
1. EVERY question on the “Organizer” sheet have been answered. (See the “Organizer” sheet
   for details.) 5 points

2. All PowerPoint guidelines on the “PowerPoint Presentation Instructions” sheet were followed.
   (This means you have the appropriate number of pictures, your notes are organized by color,
   there is a title page, there is a citations page at the end, you have sub-titles on each page,
   etc.) See the sheet for further details. 5 points

3. Your presentation includes CLEAR sub-topics. 5 points

4. Your presentation includes a food from your country/culture of study. 5 points

5. Your presentation included a craft from your country/culture of study. (A craft is something that
   YOU made or brought in to show the class.) 5 points

6. Your presentation was professional looking, and you presented your information in a clear,
    mature manner. 5 points

    INDIVIDUAL GRADE—30 Points Total

1. You played an active role in the research, PowerPoint work, and Presentation aspects of
   the group project. This means you were on task and helping out AT ALL TIMES. 6

2. You put in an equal amount of effort as your group members. This means you researched as
   much as they did, worked as often as they did, and presented as much as they did. 6 points

3. Your part of the class presentation was clear, professional, and done appropriately. 6 points

4. Your part of the PowerPoint followed all instructions and guidelines. 6 points

5. You were a Class Act group member during all group work sessions. This means you were
   pleasant, helpful, and courteous toward your group members. 6 points

           The total points are divided by 2. Your total grade is a _____ / 30.

                        Self-Assessment Page
DIRECTIONS: Fill out the below questionnaire as honestly as possible. Keep in
mind that other group members will be completing this assessment as well, so
please don’t try to exaggerate. Of course, don’t sell yourself short either!

1. I believe that I worked as hard as I could on this assignment. (Yes / Most of the
   time / Sometimes / No)

2. I believe that I contributed AT LEAST as much as my fellow group members.
   (Yes / Most of the time / Sometimes / No)

3. I believe that I contributed MORE than my other group members. (Yes / Most of
   the time / Sometimes / No) If yes, please give an example:


4. I believe that there were some members of my group who did not work as hard
   as they should have. (Yes / No / Sometimes) If yes, Please give an example:



5. I believe that I deserve a(n) _______ on this project. (Please enter a letter

6. I deserve the above grade because:



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