The Day of the Dead, also known as el Día de los Muertos, is a holiday celebrated by Latin American cultures. It’s a two-day celebration held to honor deceased loved ones, reuniting the dead with the living. On Friday, October 29th, Spanish classes at Hubbard High School celebrated the holiday. The students dressed up and went to Tiffany’s Banquet Center to partake in a variety of Day of the Dead activities, traditions, etc.
Although Day of the Dead sounds somber, it’s actually a joyous, vibrant holiday rather than a sad one. Throughout the graveyards and streets, music and dancing helps to liven and set the mood of the celebration. Senior Noelle Trobek says that her favorite part of the day was learning how to perform traditional Latin dances like the salsa and the cha-cha with her group. “I liked when we danced because I was with all of my friends, and we got to dance to Pitbull songs,” stated Trobek. Students were taught step-by-step how to dance the salsa, and the mambo while continuously switching partners. Learning how to dance was an entertaining, hands-ons way to help students learn and have a more cultural experience.
Another big tradition of Día de los Muertos is the food. A variety of Mexican meals and desserts are made and prepared into a big feast. Students were served an assortment of cultural dishes such as fajitas, tacos, nachos, rice, and more. Freshman Emalie Esmail remarked, “The food was so good, so that definitely was my favorite part.”
Within Latin-American homes, traditions are observed as well during this special holiday. An ofrenda is an altar constructed in the home which displays offerings, pictures, drinks, toys, food, etc. Calaveras (sugar skulls) are made, decorated, and placed on ofrendas to represent the departed loved ones. At our celebration, students decorated their own sugar skulls. Sophomore Evan Flynn explained, “The crafts were my favorite part because I got to be creative and decorate cookies with my friends.” As well as Calaveras, Marigolds are another part of the Day of the Dead ofrendas. Marigolds are displayed on the altar, and petals are placed from the street leading to the altar in their home. Because of their strong scent, spirits can follow the path of the strewn marigold’s to their homes occupied in life. Along with sugar skull cookies, the students also made paper marigolds to celebrate the holiday.
On November 1st, the souls of the children lost are remembered, and on the 2nd, the souls of the adults are remembered. As the celebration comes to an end, classes are able to look back on all of the fun they had at their own Día de los Muertos celebration. Spanish teacher Señora Anna Badurik remarked, “My favorite part was watching the students smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves while participating in each activity.” Hubbard High School Spanish teachers did an amazing job at demonstrating the true theme of the holiday through the banquet. Because of their enthusiasm, most students can’t wait until next year to celebrate once again.