NORWICH – Holy Family School’s 5th and 6th grade Spanish students put their knowledge of the Mexican holiday, Dia de Los Muertos to the test during the month of October by creating a traditional altar to celebrate the lives of lost loved ones.
The Aztec, Olmec and Toltec tribes of pre-Columbian Mexico believed the worlds of the present life and the after life touched each other, and the spirits of the deceased were able to return for a short while to the present world. Thus, they created Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and celebrated it on the 1st and 2nd of November as a way to commemorate the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the New Year.
For the project, Spanish students prepared a large classroom ofrenda, or altar to celebrate the life of a loved one who had passed away. Some common items found on a Dia de Los Muertos altar include pictures, a small description of the person, crosses, food (usually their favorite foods), any personal items of the deceased, marigolds (whose scent is thought to bring the spirit back home) and incense. Students chose a person or pet to honor, and wrote descriptions about the individual and included a picture.