During the Day of the Dead, more than half the students at Ida Diaz Junior High worked on a Community Altar to honor the lives of those who are no longer here.
Day of the Dead is known for being a date in which people can feel more connected to their deceased family members. The early celebration of this event dates back to almost 3,000 years, where the belief was that the sould of those who parted will travel to Mictlan, leaving family members to provide offerings such as water and food to guide the soul as they left their body. Today, some things have changed. Here in the Rio Grande Valley some try to keep this tradition alive, in a different way. Usually the altars are accompanied by things that remind us of our loved ones, as well as Campasuchitl flowers and sugar skulls.
“It’s meaningful for me because my grandma passed away and she was important to me. She was always caring to me and nice to me,” shared 6th grader Alexia Castillo.
Teacher Sandra San Miguel says close to 330 students participated in this community altar and mentions that this really hit home. As some of them have recently suffered losses, which is why this is a way of honoring and remembering them.
It was very hard to do it, we gave them about a week, a week and a half, and some of them had to work on different days because it was a very emotional moment. Especially given the conditions that we are living in with the pandemic, some of the souls that we remember, that they honored, have passed away recently,” said Mrs. San Miguel.
San Miguel adds that the students had to complete the project at home with the help of their parents to subsequently be able to present their project in class. An emotional moment for many students.
Administrators say this project will also encourage students to learn more about their roots and traditions.