Día de los Muertos is a Mexican celebration of dead ancestors that takes place annually on November 1st and 2nd. There is a common misconception that Día de los Muertos has relation with Halloween. Día de los Muertos explores the various ways of celebrating deceased loved ones and their lives, whereas Halloween portrays death as […]
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican celebration of dead ancestors that takes place annually on November 1st and 2nd. There is a common misconception that Día de los Muertos has relation with Halloween. Día de los Muertos explores the various ways of celebrating deceased loved ones and their lives, whereas Halloween portrays death as something to be feared. The two holidays coincide in certain aspects, but overall there are different ways of celebrating.
Día de los Muertos is celebrated with food, drink, parties, and activities that the deceased once enjoyed. To pay respect to deceased loved ones, relatives and friends decorate altars and ofrendas with objects and food that relate back to them.
Christian Brothers has a 20% Hispanic population on its campus and the Talon talked with some Latinx teachers and students to gather a personal insight on their experiences with Día de los Muertos.
One of CB’s own Spanish teachers, Ms. Anna Fernandez, shares her family’s customs regarding the traditional Mexican holiday and recognizes that death is a natural part of life.
“We shouldn’t be scared of death, but should be opened to it,” she says. “There’s been many people in my family who have died, but two important figures are my grandparents, who helped raise me.”
Ms. Fernandez pays tribute to her family members by decorating their ofrenda with flowers for her grandma and lottery tickets and a baseball for her grandpa.
“Even though we can’t physically see them, I think we can still feel their presence somehow,” she says.
Mr. Danny Delgado ’79 recollects the times he shared with his past loved ones.
“This holiday has always been an opportunity for me to look back at the memories I shared with the people I love” he says. “It always makes me sad because they’re not here, but it’s nice to think about them.”
The festive holiday changes the outlook on death for many people.
“I’ve never really feared death because I understand it’s a natural part of life,” Mr. Delgado says. “I don’t think it helps change that idea because that’s just the way it is.”
Celebrating Día de los Muertos allows him to touch base with his Latino roots and culture.
“When I was growing up, the family across the street, the Sanchez family, was big with all of the cultural things and that was my siblings and I’s cultural connection,” he says. “We would go to St. Mary’s cemetery and participate in the march with the Aztec dancers.”
Freshman Yuliana Cervantes (‘22) explains her family’s customs for Día de los Muertos and the importance the holiday has to her.
“Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate death but in a positive way. We miss our loved ones being with us but it’s also a moment to appreciate life.”
Yuliana acknowledges the emotional growth that comes from the acceptance of death.
“I know my loved ones have their spirits surrounding me and guiding me,” she says. “We have an altar for every family member that has passed away in the US and decorate it with different colored flowers.”
Every Día de los Muertos, Yulianna and her family make their annual visit to the cemetery.
“We go to visit our deceased relatives, and it’s nice to take some time to remember their lives. Afterwards, my whole family and I go out to eat.”
This widely celebrated holiday recognizes the importance of commemorating past lives and valuing time spent with relatives. It is also an important tradition in the Hispanic community that brings a large community of family and friends together.