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Read the descriptions below. Then unscramble the words in the clues section. You'll write your answers on the answer sheet. The circled item in each unscrambled clue will help you find the secret message. When you're done, come check your answers with me.

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Imagine a holiday when the dead return to their homes and visit their families! This holiday - called "El Dia de los Muertos" - takes place in Mexico on November 1 and 2, at the same time as All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. All Saints' Day (which honors all the saints in heaven) and All Souls' Day (a day of prayer for the souls of the dead) are solemn occasions. "El Dia de los Muertos" is a more playful holiday.

Bakeries and toy stores start preparing for the holiday in the middle of October. Bakeries sell sweet bread shaped like human skulls and bones; it's called "pan de los muertos" (bread of the dead). They also have chocolate ghosts, skeleton candies, and calaveras. Calaveras are made of white sugar covered with frosting and tinsel. They're made to look like small skulls.

external image SugarCoffinGroup.jpgToy stores and street vendors sell toy skeletons with movable legs and toy coffins with toy skeletons inside. When someone opens the coffin, the skeleton pops out! The stores and vendors also sell special jewelry. One of the favorites is a tie pin that looks like a skeleton with dangling ribs and a grin on its face.

Families start preparing days before the holiday actually begins. In each house, they set up an altar with pictures of relatives who have died. They stock the house full of food for the returning souls; otherwise, the souls might get angry and play tricks. Among the favorite foods left on the altar are baked pumpkin, sweet bread, and sugar-candy bones.

Once the holiday starts, firecrackers explode in the night sky to light the way for the dead. Families carry a meal to the cemetery where their loved ones are buried, and they decorate the graves with oranges or yellow marigolds (Cempasuchtl) and with flickering candles. They burn incense as they pray. After the prayers, children play games and sing songs. Everyone enjoys plenty of food and hope that the dead are happy too.

"El Dia de los Muertos" is a Mexican holiday, but it's also celebrate in parts of the U.S. where many Mexican Americans live. Los Angeles, California celebrates with cultural displays, art shows, and street fairs. Some bakeries in L.A. sells "pan de los muertos" and large papier mache skeletons hang along the parade route. El Dia de los Muertos is both a happy and a solemn holiday for Mexican people. They accept death and remember their loved ones with affection.

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1. On the FIRST and second days of November, Mexico celebrates El Dia de los Muertos.

2. All Saints' Day (O N H R O S) saints.

3. El Dia de los Muertos is a holiday in Mexico and in parts of the (I E U D N T S S T T E A)

4. On (L A L L U S S O A Y D), people offer prayers for the souls of the dead.

5. On this holiday, the (E D D A) return to their homes and visit their families.

6. Returning souls expect to find a house full of food; otherwise, they might get angry and (L Y A P) tricks.

7. El Dia de los Muertos is also a popular holiday in Los Angeles, (A I O I C A N L F R).

8. Stores sell toy (N I C O F S F) with skeletons inside that pop out.

9. In the middle of October, (O Y T) stores and bakeries prepare for the holiday.

10. Bakeries sell sweet bread in the shape of (U N H A M) skulls and bones.

11. Small skulls made of white sugar and covered with frosting are called (E A A R L V S C A).

12. Orange or yellow (O R D M G L I A) flowers are laid on the graves.

13. (K C E A E S C F I R R R ) explode in the sky to light the way for the dead.

14. On November 2nd, families visit cemeteries and bring a (E L M A).

15. El Dia de los Muertos is a happy and solemn (L D Y A O I H).