Dia de los Muertos: Honoring the Dead


Maya Sabbaghian

On display in the Learning Commons, marigolds are known as the flower of the dead and are meant to use their powerful fragrance as a guide for spirits.

Maya Sabbaghian, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which lasts from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, was observed by the world language department and Learning Commons through various activities.

Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday in remembrance of loved ones who have passed away, dating back 3,000 years to the indigenous people of Latin America, according to ladayofthedead.com.

“[Day of the Dead] coincides with All Souls Day [Nov. 2], where you remember your dead relatives,” library media specialist Pam Quiros said. “So, if you were truly celebrating Day of the Dead, you would create a memorial or altar where they put a table… blankets and pictures of their loved ones and marigolds and some of their relative’s favorite breads and treats.”

The Learning Commons held an activity where students colored Calaveras, or skull masks, similar to a mask-coloring activity last year.

“The skulls, which is what we are going to do in the Learning Commons and are going to put up [on the wall], are the [Calavera] skulls,” Quiros said, “which are actually just the masks that they wear to celebrate and remember their loved ones.”

The Calaveras are meant to remind people to celebrate life and how death is a part of life and should be honored.  

The world language department held a similar activity where students colored skulls, read about the holiday and watched “The Book of Life,” an animated movie set in Mexico with many references to the Day of the Dead.

“As a teacher, [I use Day of the Dead] to give a little bit of the culture of what families do in Mexico and to show that death in some countries is not looked at in the same way as our country,” world language department chair Kari Tubbs said.

Death is often feared and deeply associated with grief and sorrow in American culture. However, Day of the Dead brings a more joyful and positive perspective on death.

“Dia de los Muertos is a time where we can honor the dead,” sophomore Kayden Lea said. “And it also makes me think about death as to which death is not so much of a bad thing, but is more of just the next step of life.”