Lower School students at The Episcopal School of Dallas have been learning about Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in their electives for the past few weeks leading up to the three-day holiday that commemorates loved ones who have passed on.
In Spanish class, students as young as Pre-K have been learning all about the Mexican culture behind the celebrations of Dia de los Muertos and what makes it a special holiday for the people who celebrate it. In art class, students learned about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and how her heritage inspired her artwork. They also created paintings and masks that mimicked the sugar skulls that are a popular sweet treat served during the holiday. Even the faculty and staff got in on the action! Several teachers and staff members had their faces painted in the intricate style of a sugar skull to really get in the Day of the Dead spirit.
In chapel services, Father Towers explained the connection between All Souls Day and Dia de los Muertos. Today, the Church celebrates all the faithful departed and loved ones who have come before us and are now gone. We remember their faithfulness and often tell stories about the role of these important people in our lives. On Dia de los Muertos, those who are no longer with us are celebrated and remembered with great festivity.
Celebrations continued with a special lunchtime performance from a traditional Mexican mariachi band. The music was the perfect touch to their Dia de los Muertos themed lunch, which included Mexican comida like tamales, fajita-style veggies, and a Dia de los Muertos altar complete with the sweet bread, called “pan de muerto,” for students to taste.
The day concludes with an after-school showing of Jorge Gutierrez’s animated film, The Book of Life, for students in grades two through four. The main character, Manolo, travels through several marvelous worlds in pursuit of his dreams. The animation celebrates Mayan folklore and the art comes directly from the cultural festivities that take place on Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.
We are grateful that our students can be exposed to a global education even at the youngest level, and be immersed in cultures that may be different from their own.