Día de los Muertos
As part of the Spanish curriculum, Maestra Elena will lead WSP students in an assembly introducing the Mexican celebration of “Día de los Muertos” or Day of the Dead.
More than 500 years ago, when Spanish conquistadores landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered the native people celebrating a ritual which honored the dead. It had been practiced for at least 3000 years. Originally celebrated by the Aztec for a full month, Spanish priests co-opted and moved it to the Feast of All Souls, November 1. That date had been established when Roman priests co-opted Samhain, the November 1 celebration of the dead by the Celtic peoples of Britain and Gaul – giving rise to All Souls and Halloween!.
While the celebration of All Souls can be a sad occasion in many countries, in Mexico, it is a joyous remembrance of the departed. Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the Aztec and other Meso-American peoples viewed death as a continuation of life. Life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.
In Mexico, people visit the cemetery and decorate the gravesite with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for the children. They sit on picnic blankets and eat the favorite foods of their loved ones.
Our school assembly will be on November 1, at the beginning of the day. Your children are invited to bring a photo or memento of a loved one who has died. These will be displayed, along with candles and flowers, on the stage at the front of the auditorium. In Spanish classes leading up to the assembly, Maestra Elena will bring a story, and have the children make masks (grades 1, 2), paper flowers (grades 3, 4, 5), and the woven “God’s eyes” (grades 6, 7, 8). At the end of the assembly, they will be given baskets of bread to take back to their classrooms to share for snack.