Upcoming Day of The Dead Holiday Valued by UC High Community

Jisang Yoo, News Editor

As November is getting closer, numerous UC High students and staff are preparing to celebrate the Day of the Dead. A holiday traditionally celebrated in Mexico, on November first and second the Day of the Dead commemorates loved ones who have passed away.

The traditions practiced on the Day of the Dead vary. According to the Mexico-Insights website, “Many families head to the cemetery on the Day of the Dead on November 1 to welcome deceased children back from Mictlan (the land of the dead) and on November 2 to commune with deceased adults also returning for one day from Mictlan. During this time, the cemetery takes on an almost festive air,” (mexico-insights.com).

The holiday’s November date has a special meaning to it. History Teacher Eduardo Hernández said, “It has a lot to do with the end of fall and the beginning of winter. There’s a thin veil in that time frame where the seasons overlap, so the Mexican culture believed that at that point, with the veil between the living and the dead getting so thin, you’re able to have contact with the past.” Hernández shared he celebrates by remembering those in his life who are not with him anymore. “I do a mental reflection before I go to bed just to kind of acknowledge that their presence was there,” he said.

   Junior Priscila Artiga cannot wait for the holiday. She said, “On the Day of the Dead, my family and I go to the cemetery and visit family members. We eat Pan de Muerto, which is a sweet bread that is traditionally baked in Mexico. We also make an Ofrenda, which is an “altar de muertos,” where we honor and remember the dead and celebrate the joys of life.”

   Artiga also said that her favorite activity to partake in during the Day of the Dead is to spend time with her family, as honoring her ancestors’ memories brings them closer together. This familial gathering is a significant part of the holiday.

Junior Greg Zarraga said, “My family celebrates the Day of the Dead by drinking cervezas (beers) and going to the cemetery to place flowers on the tombs of our family members.” Zarraga said his favorite food to eat during this holiday is mole, which is a traditional Mexican dish with a cocoa-based sauce which is commonly eaten during this time.

   Celebrating the Day of the Dead is a way to remember and honor those who have passed away. Although it is a holiday popular among people of Mexican heritage, it can be celebrated by people within different cultures and traditions. “Mexican heritage isn’t the only one that honors the dead. The vikings did that and they generally did it in around the same period of time,” said Hernández. A beautiful tribute to those we have left behind, this holiday serves as a much needed warm, familial embrace during the cozier time of the year.