Latinos celebrate Dia de los Muertos, maintain tradition

by Rosalie Chan, Web Editor

Although Dia De Los Muertos is widely celebrated in Mexico, some students at WHS still observe this holiday.
Dia De Los Muertos takes place Nov. 1 to 2, which corresponds with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. People traditionally commemorate children on Nov. 1, and adults on Nov. 2.
“It’s a combination of Catholic saints and indigenous cultures,” Rebecca Castro, ELL Coordinator, said. “It represents the mix of Mexican cultures.”
Angela Ibarra, senior, celebrates this holiday with her family. To celebrate, people traditionally put out ofrendas, altars dedicated to the dead.
“I like it because we honor our grandparents. Since I was really close to my grandparents, I spend a day to remember them,” Ibarra said.
On this day, her family will set up an altar with pictures of the deceased, as well as place lit candles and food such as pan de muertos on the altar. Her entire family gets together and says prayers.
Ibarra said that she does not know anyone else at school who celebrates this holiday.
“It’s a day where we get together and we remember our past ancestors. A lot of people don’t take it as seriously as they should,” Ibarra said.
Ofrendas often have three levels and elements that represent earth, wind, fire and water. The traditional flower of the occasion is a type of marigold called zenpasuchitl, which are used to decorate ofrendas.
“You place what the deceased person would like. I did it (made an ofrenda) once, and it was really neat to think, what would the deceased person like or eat?” Ms. Castro said.
On Nov. 7, Ms. Castro will take her Spanish classes on a field trip to the National Museum of Mexican Art, which has major exhibit of ofrendas from Sept. 14 to Dec. 16.
In addition, in the past, Latino Club created personal ofrendas for victims of bullying, which are still on display in the main hallway.
“I normally don’t celebrate it because it requires so much. I haven’t lost someone personally. If and when I lose someone, I would definitely do it,” Ms. Castro said.

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