Memorial for the Dead
November 1, 2016
We at RNE have a variety of people from different backgrounds. However, every year on November 1st and 2nd, our Latin American population gets a special time to celebrate their ancestry.
November 1st and 2nd is the Day of the Dead, a day in Latin American heritage where people celebrate their ancestors. While not all countries celebrate this holiday, it is prevalent in culture.
Isis Rodriguez, Spanish Teacher, sheds light on the cultural aspect as well as the impact this holiday has.
“They will cook the food of their loved ones and they will set it up in the graveyard,” Rodriguez said, “They have candles, they have the color purple, they have flowers. Marigolds are the ones that tend to be used because that’s the flower of the dead.”
Kayla Brown, Sophomore, also gives input to her thought of the holiday and what part she had to play in the memorial. “My class in my first block in B-day put up a stand and we put food on it and decorated it,” Brown said. “It was different because I thought it was just Halloween since I had never heard of it before. It was different to know about the different traditions and cultures.”
As Brown explained, most people think that Day of the Dead is a ‘Mexican Halloween,’ but the purpose of the holiday is to celebrate ancestors. The day is a happy day filled with festivals, parades, sugar skulls, candy, costumes and most importantly, reflection.
Normally, someone who would celebrate the event would decorate altars with things like candles, flowers, pictures of the deceased, favorite foods and drinks of the deceased, pan de muerto, sugar skulls and much more.
Actual graves are normally decorated with Mexican Marigolds (cempasú chil) and mementos of that person’s favorite things.
As best put by Rodriguez- “This is not a day to mourn, this is the day to celebrate their lives.”