Our school celebrated Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos. Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, which coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private alters honoring the deceased. The altars are adorned with sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. People often place the altars near graves of departed relatives.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl. In Brazil, Día de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.
In the school lobby, a beautiful interactive and educational display was created was created by Lorena Gomez-Alvarez, Head of our Dual Language Program. This exhibit provided a hands-on experience related to the cultural celebration. Hand-outs were available with instructions and a brief explanation of the holiday.
Parents, students, and staff were welcomed to begin the tour at the main altar. The alter constructed was honoring none other than Maria Montessori. There were cue cards offering explanations of the important elements of the altar and their meanings. Some of the items that could be found on the altar were sweet breads, sugar skulls, flowers, salt, and candles. Maria Montessori was honored with photos of her with students, quotes, and some of her life's work, demonstrated by a Pink Tower at the top of the altar.
After observing the altar, there were three crafts typically made on Day on the Dead:
We hope you were able to stop by and entrench yourself in this cultural tradition; perhaps, even celebrating in your own homes next week.
We would love to express our gratitude to Lorena, and all of our staff who embrace our Dual Language Program and Curriculum. Thank you for this in depth cultural experience.