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World Languages Students Celebrate Day of the Dead

Díá de los Muertos is a celebration of life in Mexican culture. On November 1st and 2nd, people in Mexico and different parts of Central America celebrate the lives of those lost during the previous year. In Piedmont’s World Languages Department, students were able to experience this celebration in their classrooms.

Díá de los Muertos is a celebration of life in Mexican culture. On November 1st and 2nd, people in Mexico and different parts of Central America celebrate the lives of those lost during the previous year by assembling an altar or an ofrenda to commemorate the life of that person. The ofrenda typically represents the things that the person loved during their life here on Earth. It also may include a special bread (pan de muertos), fruit, candy skulls (calaveras), marigolds, candles, cut-paper decorations (papel picado), among many other things.

Students at Piedmont High School in all levels of Spanish classes, along with the International Club, constructed these altars after reading about and researching Díá de los Muertos. They purchased pan de muertos from local bakeries, and decorated the altar to honor the life of someone who has passed on.

Spanish teacher Mary Thomas described her students' experience with Díá de los Muertos: "We talked about the origins of the holiday, as well as why it is celebrated on All Souls' Day and All Saints' Day. Students also learned about typical items which are used to decorate the ofrendas. They also learned about La Catrina and what she represents."

Student Emma Burkhart composed the following poem as part of the Day of the Dead celebration:

The day is gone and now so are you my dear
But I will not be sad for I will see you again, on this day, once a year

The time for celebration is just around the bend
So rejoice for we will see our loved ones again

We will see them once again
So go out and be happy for this day
It only happens once a year

According to Burkhart, “When I was told about the subject I thought it was very thoughtful and interesting, but at first I don't think many of my classmates got the message of the Day of the Dead. They saw it as another Halloween with spider webs or they saw it as an excuse to have a party. But I thought it was beautiful how so any people celebrated, like they were getting closure with their loved ones, and they thought that there was no reason to be sad if their loved ones passed away because at some point they're going to come back home and that's what I tried to capture in this poem.”

Written by: Donna Helms, Web Editor
Posted: Nov 18, 2014 by Donna Helms

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