Day of the Dead


Janet Gonzalez

Día de los muertos student made ofrenda or altar as part of the spanish class activities.

Janet Gonzalez, Reporter

As the dead re-enter the world once again, they make their way along the path of cempasuchiles. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday in which the deceased can return for one day of the year to enjoy food, drinks, and celebration. People set up ofrendas, altars with photos of their loved ones, as well as offerings. The holiday lasts two days: November 1st is “el dia de los inocentes” and All Saints Day. November 2 is All Souls Day or more commonly known as Day of the Dead. 

On the first day, children’s spirits can pass over, while the adult’s spirits can pass over the following day, November 2. The tradition is a combination of Aztec tradition and Catholicism. As this is a very big part of Spanish culture, the traditions regarding the holiday are taught to students. Spanish classes spend time drawing sugar skulls – a way of representing the deceased as well as decorations on ofrendas. Movies are played such as Disney’s “Coco”, where a young boy finds himself in the “land of the dead” during his attempts to become a musician. Informative videos regarding the tradition, as well as comparison videos of Halloween and Day of the Dead, are shown to classes. Some Spanish classes even had the chance to make an ofrenda with sugar skulls, candles, and cempasuchiles, the Mexican Marigold flower. 

As stated in the tradition, the cempasuchiles help guide the dead back to their loved ones. Spanish teacher Ms. Fancett said, “Introducing culture in the classroom is so beneficial and important because it promotes respect and good behavior.” According to Les Elfes International, ¨Understanding different cultures is not only critical, but it also promotes ample coexistence. Senior Malia Throop said, “Without exposure to different cultures, students would be stuck in their own little bubbles.” 

Dia de los Muertos is an ever-evolving holiday gaining more popularity each year. The traditions practiced have changed throughout time and have impacted many. Originating from a ritual in ancient civilization, now reaching a variety of homes throughout the world. The vibrancy of the holiday from the enchanting skulls, to the burning candles, brings comfort to many – as does the ability to appreciate and having knowledge on the traditions regarding the importance of family and friendship.