Bosco: Dia De Los Muertos Celebration Recap
by George Holani and Matthew Ruiz
The “Day of the Dead” or “Dia de los Muertos” is a Mexican holiday and tradition that runs every year from October 31st to November 2nd in Mexican and Spanish cultures.
This event is celebrated throughout Mexico and with Mexican families and heritages everywhere. The holiday focuses on family gatherings and coming together to pray for past friends and family members who have died.
The “Day of the Dead” is important because it relates to and challenges societal views on honoring the dead. The event is celebrated through festivals, parades, and family gatherings at cemeteries to pray for their deceased family members and friends. People celebrate this tradition by putting flowers, candles, ceramic skulls, and pictures of loved ones on their altars.
Food is also placed on altars, as families cook their loved ones favorite dishes and treats to honor them. Sugar skulls and tamales are common dishes to place, which is important because food and drinks placed on the altars are an offering for loved ones to come back and visit.
According to Ms. Norma Aguilera, a Spanish teacher at St. John Bosco High School, the “Day of the Dead” annual celebration started at Bosco about six years ago. The administration at Bosco began to coordinate and set up an event every year for the “Day of the Dead.”
“I sat down with the administration and talked about making world languages open up more and bringing the community together in order to build a closer relationship with them and teach of other cultures in our world language departments,” said Ms. Aguilera.
The coordinators hosting and in charge of setting up this celebration try to represent a real event for Dia de los Muertos in Mexico and translate it to American culture. The event starts on November 1st and ends on the 4th at Bosco, because it’s a three day event.
“The event is celebrated by bringing the entire school community together and making altars in memory of deceased loved ones. We also have music playing because it’s a celebration and not something we should be sad about,” said Ms. Aguilera.
Coordinators provide many traditional dishes from Central America and Mexico. Types of food include burritos, tacos, rice, beans, corn on the cob, churros, tamales, and many more. The “Day of the Dead” is not only celebrated in Mexico, but also in Central America.
“It’s like celebrating the history of the natives on this land before the Spanish and the Spanish festivities going on at that time,” said Ms. Aguilera.
Dia de los Muertos affects many people and their family heritage here at Bosco every year, such as Bosco math teacher Mr. Salvador Perez.
“[Dia de los Muertos] honors people who pass away, such as my grandfather,” said Mr. Perez.
Mr. Perez’s grandfather’s birthday is the same day as the first “Day of the Dead” celebration. He mentions how the “Day of the Dead” used to be very traditional until his family grew older and the tradition shifted towards American culture. Perez’s family celebrates this event by gathering around the dinner table with food and talking about memories they had in the past with their loved ones.
Ms. Rayas, a Spanish teacher at Bosco, describes how not every city in Mexico celebrates Dia De Los Muertos. For example, her family didn’t quite celebrate this tradition during her childhood because it wasn’t passed down in their tradition yet. However, her family in Mexico celebrates it now by gathering around at a cemetery and decorating altars.
The celebration of Dia de los Muertos is one that is looked forward to every year and highly celebrated by people of Mexican culture. It’s great that St. John Bosco High School can take advantage of this annual celebration and participate in it on campus.