On November 1, Dr. Rita Moch Arias took her Intermediate Spanish students to the elaborate and colorful “Día de Muertos” (Day of the Dead) altar that she helped put together on the first floor landing in Beard Hall. Students in several other Upper School Spanish classes – including Itzel Popova’s Foundational and Novice classes – have also been engaged in projects to learn about the traditional Mexican holiday.
“Día de Muertos” or Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. It is a time for families and communities to honor and remember deceased loved ones. During this occasion, people create colorful altars, known as “ofrendas,” that are decorated with photos, candles, marigolds, and the favorite foods and drinks of the departed. Families visit cemeteries to clean and decorate the gravesites, and they believe that the spirits of the dead return to join the living in a joyful celebration.
"Día de Muertos is a perfect example of cultural syncretism, or the blend of indigenous beliefs and Spanish cultural and religious beliefs," said Dr. Moch Arias. "It emphasizes the continuity of life and the importance of honoring those who have passed away." It is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO and has gained international recognition for its vibrant traditions and cultural significance.