Photo Courtesy of Teresa Rodriguez
Lighting candles to remember loved ones, getting closer to ancestors and sharing a special day with family are some of senior Georgina Garcia’s most treasured aspects of Día de los Muertos.
The traditional Hispanic holiday, which according to Garcia is one of remembrance, has been emphasized this year by the inclusion of an ofrenda in the gym foyer. Students were invited to place pictures and write the names of their loved ones that have passed on the ofrenda amongst the candles and decorations.
According to senior Venicio Mendez, one of the people who set up the ofrenda, this is the first time the school has done something like this. Mendez said he hopes it becomes a tradition.
“I really do hope the school continues to put together an ofrenda every year and I was extremely happy to see the students participate by writing the names of their passed loved ones and staff putting photos on the ofrenda,” Mendez said. “To see that other students and staff were interested and involved was amazing.”
The altar at school is similar to the one that Garcia puts up at home. Her altar features candles, pictures of loved ones and pan de muerto (bread of the dead). According to Garcia, she especially honors her great-grandma along with her ancestors.
“I feel like the holiday brings me closer to [my ancestors] because even though I didn’t get to know them, my parents tell me stories about them that I didn’t know,” Garcia said. “I feel like I get to interact with them somehow and I feel like I get closer to them.”
Like Garcia, Mendez said he feels he is able to understand his ancestry through the holiday through stories from his family.
“Personally to me, the holiday is about not only honoring, but learning about my ancestors who I never got to meet,” Mendez said. “My mom is happy to tell me about the lives of my great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.”
According to junior Dania Loredo, the holiday puts a positive attitude on remembering loved ones.
“I know we’re all really sad that these people have passed away but it gives a little more light,” Loredo said. “It makes you feel a little happier about it and like it’s not that bad.”
Although Loredo said she does not celebrate as much as she did before her grandma moved away, she still participates in honoring her ancestors and embracing all aspects of the celebration.
“I feel like it’s a little bit of everything,” Loredo said. “It’s a very cultural thing for me, but it also has to do a lot with remembering those people that passed away.”