Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, as well as in America among people of Mexican heritage. At St. Didacus Parish School, where we always commemorate All Souls Day each November 2nd, we also continued our tradition of honoring El Dia de los Muertos. A dedicated team of teachers and parents built and decorated a table that resembled the altar used on this celebratory day, using sugar skulls, Mexican flowers, decorative papers and tablecloths, toys, and candles. This has traditionally been a way to honor those people who have died, family members and close friends, and to remember their lives and how they impacted each one of us personally.
The students had a major role in the celebration. Many of them brought in photos of people they have lost, mostly family members, and one even brought in a photo of their dog who had recently died. The photos were placed in frames and collages, and distributed around the table so that all could see who was being honored, and how special each of them was to those who are still living. The table was set up underneath the wall of crosses in the main hallway of the school, which helped to connect the Mexican traditions of the Catholic faith – the theme of the celebration.
In addition, the students set up a separate Prayer Book of Intentions, placed on a small table next to the altar. This book served as a special place where students, parents, teachers, and others could write special notes, messages, and intentions for their loved ones. Many pages were filled with wonderful notes and special prayers, each with a special significance to the author of the notes.
The table will remain on display in the main hallway at St. Didacus through the week of November 5th. Celebrating the lives of those we love helps the students, and all of us, to remember that life is a precious gift, and that our gift to one another while we’re alive is our ability to love, and to be loved.