the Symbolic Migration
Over 60,000 paper butterflies
were made last fall by children in the United States and Canada,
and sent to the children who live beside the monarch sanctuaries
in Mexico. These Symbolic Monarch ambassadors will come back next
spring and "migrate" back to classrooms when the actual
monarchs begin their journey north.
butterflies' fall flight is timed to correspond with the real
monarchs' journey south. The paper butterflies arrive in Mexico
around the time of the Dia de los Muertos (November 2), just as
the real monarchs do. According to Mexican legend, these returning
butterflies are thought to carry the ancestors' souls and play
a role in the Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
students from the sanctuary region greet the butterflies and watch
over them during the winter months. At the same time in the mountains
nearby, the entire eastern population of North American monarch
butterflies are resting in Mexico for the winter. Sometime next
March, when the real monarchs' departure from Mexico is announced,
the paper butterflies will return. The butterflies will carry
a special message from the Mexican students to the students in
Canada and U. S. who made them.