In celebration of All Souls’ Day, known in Mexico as Dia de los Muertos, Saint Columbkille students are honoring their deceased family members. Ms. Kara Rivas, new pre-K to Grade 5 Spanish teacher, envisions the school coming together as a community after building a school-wide “ofrenda” or altar where images of deceased family members can be celebrated. She has brought this endeavor to life by creating a cross-curricular activity that brings together Spanish language, Art, Religion and History/Social Studies. Each class celebrated or acknowledged loved ones that have passed away by taking the time to pass the ofrenda and hold a short prayer service or a simple quiet reflection. Participation varies depending on the age of the students.
“We acknowledge that many cultures honor their beloved departed in beautiful and unique ways,” says Ms. Rivas. “While death is a heavy and difficult topic, it’s part of our identity to honor our family members and their souls.”
Ms. Rivas worked with students over the last week or two to discuss the meaning of Dia de los Muertos and help students understand why the ofrenda is important. Art teacher Ms. Falconer asked students to create beautiful Mexican folk art that can be used to decorate the ofrenda. Classroom teachers shared the religious significance of All Souls’ Day, while also talking about the historical evolution of the day in Mexico and in other countries and Catholic cultures.
In Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful fusion of Aztec culture and Spanish Catholicism. Thank you to the students who participated in such a time-honored tradition.