The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Day of the Dead is more than just offerings

Johana Carmona (created with Canva)
Day of the Dead, also known as Dia De Los Muertos, has gained a huge connection with families. Many have found peace with this holiday.

Every year, we find ways to honor our loved ones who have passed. A tradition started by the Aztecs has impacted the way we have decided to celebrate our loved ones today. Day of the Dead is celebrated in November with different decorations and activities. Various types of offerings are put up. They vary from their loved one’s favorite food to their favorite drink, but this holiday isn’t just about that. Although Day of the Dead may not seem that deep, there is a lot of meaning behind it for many individuals. It isn’t just about the offerings. There is more to know about Day of the Dead.

People around the world have always focused on the offerings put up. When Day of the Dead comes around, they tend to think it is just the food and celebration. A part of this holiday does include that but there is much more to learn and know.

Thousands of years ago, the Olmecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Mayans, and Aztecs practiced rituals honoring death that gave rise to the Day of the Dead.
Throughout Mexico, rituals are preserved in murals, paintings, monuments and artifacts. Skulls or calaveras are often used as decorations, whether they are made of clay, wood, metal, or even edible materials. Jose Guadalupe Posada’s skulls strongly swayed the skull imagery for this day.
In the United States the altar-making rituals have been a cultural practice beyond the individual space.
El Día de los Muertos, is now seen as an urban artistic phenomenon which bonds communities. It is a deeply cherished Mexican holiday. It is traditionally marked by ofrendas, which hold food, drinks, and flowers that the living artfully prepare to welcome the souls of their loved ones.
Day of the Dead is a rare holiday for celebrating death and life. Throughout celebrations you will see Mexican Marigolds, which are the flowers that are believed to be the pathways that guide the spirits to their ofrendas. Their vibrant colors and scent attract the departed souls as they return to feast on their favorite foods. This flower is called “Flor de Muerto” and symbolizes the beauty and fragility of life.
Each ofrenda is set up in its own particular way. Some have a flat surface with all the elements on it, while in others you can find several levels. The most common ones have three levels, which represent heaven, earth and the underworld. With more elaborate ofrendas, you can find up to seven levels.

All families have their own way of celebrating the Day of the Dead, either they do something small or something bigger. Each family is different depending on their beliefs and what they know of the Day of the Dead.

Santa Ana Unified School District English and Ethnic Studies educator, Yuri Lara, who is also a Santa Ana resident explains a bit about what she understands of Day of the Dead. She knows about the different beliefs, sugar skulls, bread, and the connection felt but her beliefs go beyond that.

“On the ninth day of praying you make a special meal and offer it to the altar but also eat it. You feel like you are sharing this meal with those relatives who have passed away. The altar is like a portal, like a gateway between the spirit world and the living world,” Lara said.

El Día de los Muertos has been becoming a more popular holiday. Students are even beginning to gain knowledge on everything behind this special day. They start learning young from their parents or others.

“I know that it is on the first, second and sometimes third. I know that you have to set up an ofrenda and then you have to put up food, drink, and pictures of the dead. Sometimes, well for me, my family gets together on the second and then we eat chocolate and pan. In Mexico, they have big celebrations,” Junior Anthony Nuñez said.

Many individuals around the world have gained a special connection with the Day of the Dead. Over the last few years public altars have been made in places like Disneyland. Lara communicated how she feels about Dia de los Muertos based on her experiences.

“It is an important part of me growing up because I actually lost my biological parents at 11 months. I would visit my mom on Dia de los Muertos. This was when we would take her to these offerings. She would receive these things and feel them according to our beliefs. There was something I could do to keep her close to me,” Lara said.

Nuñez also expresses how he has gained a special connection with this meaningful holiday. He has grown up with these traditions and was taught the importance behind it by his grandma.

“I am always happy and excited when this time comes around. It really helps us connect back to our roots and traditions…It’s a beautiful tradition that will be carried on forever,” Nuñez said.

Many families have found ways to grief. Day of the Dead has been one day in which they feel the connection through meals as when they feel the presence of their loved ones. Behind what we may know of Day of the Dead, there is a deeper meaning and connection to people. There is always more to know about the Day of the Dead and the ways that it has impacted people.

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About the Contributor
Johana Carmona, Staff Writer
I love reading romance books and doing my makeup. I like boba, canes, and wingstop. I like listening to all music genres.