The Day of the Dead is a typical celebration in Mexican culture, which is also observed in the southwestern United States among the Hispanic community of Mexican origin. For Mexicans, death is not synonymous with the total disappearance of the person but the continuation of the cycle of life. They believe that the soul of the deceased returns every year at the beginning of November to visit the family and eat the food offered to them on the altar erected in their honor. This is why each year the Mexicans celebrate their deceased in joy and gaiety.
And it was in this atmosphere that the 5th graders began by making los papeles picados (silk paper pennants), a symbol of the union between life and death. They also made orange marigold flowers, the color of mourning for the Aztecs. The next session was devoted to making calaveritas de azúcar (small sugar skulls). Indeed, if each year a deceased is honored on the altar, all the deceased members of the family also have their place and are represented by these calaveritas.
The students did all this before the holidays under Catrinas watchful eye, an elegant skeleton representing the Aztec goddess of death. It was made famous by the caricaturist José Guadalupe Posada or painters like Diego Rivera (Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central).
Finally, at home, the children made one of the essential offerings from the altar: el pan de muertos (the bread of the dead). The tasting took place this Wednesday and gave rise to fierce competition.
This cultural discovery ended with a visit from the Grade 7 German class who presented one of the German traditions: at this time of the year, when the days decrease with the approach of winter in the northern hemisphere, children circulate in the streets singing traditional songs. It was in the light of splendid lanterns that they made that they performed one for us. Well done !
A huge thank you to the families who all participated in making the pan de muertos, to the Mexican moms who come every year to facilitate these workshops with enthusiasm as well as to Aymeric, our school laboratory assistant, Generous and Ibrahima, high school supervisors, Ruscas and Max, maintenance staff who helped us put up the decorations or to select the best pan de muertos.
Congratulations to all the students who, we hope, will have gained more cultural experience.
Mrs Butel, Churin & Dose