On November 1st and 2nd the Lake Tahoe School community celebrated Día de los Muertos with a school wide performance and authentic Mexican cuisine. Student performances included the Mexican Hat Dance performed by the 3rd graders, Los Escqueletos by the 5th grade and an entertaining rendition of the merengue performed by the 8th grade. A local Aztecan dance group led by Andrea Tatengo headlined the event and impressed all with their elaborate costumes and energetic dance routine.
The following day Matha Osornio, mother of Auri and Adan Fernandez, prepared an authentic Mexican meal for middle school students and parents. Each class assisted in the preparation of the meal, and learned about the origin of each dish. Students, parents and teachers were in agreement that the meal was an incredible experience, and that the Day of the Dead lunch should be an annual tradition. Perhaps the most important part of the celebration was the construction of the community ofrenda leading up to Day of the Dead. LTS families and staff participated in the building of the ofrenda resulting is a thoughtful and artistic collection of items, representing the special people in our individual lives who had gone before us. As mentioned at the performance, this was a day to take time out of our busy lives to remember the special people we had lost and to thank them for helping make us who we are today.
Information about Dia de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead is originally a Mexican holiday, but now it is celebrated in other Latin American countries and several parts of the United States, including Lake Tahoe! During this celebration families gather together to honor and remember friends and relatives who have died. Although Day of the Dead occurs around the same time as Halloween, it actually has nothing to do with Halloween.
The Day of the Dead is actually a combination of ancient Aztec beliefs and Catholic traditions. The Aztecs believed that the deceased would be insulted by mourning or sadness. Therefore, they celebrated the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that the dead enjoyed while they were still alive. The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November first and second which are also two important holy days in the Catholic religion called All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Families start preparing for this special holiday weeks ahead of time. The most important tradition connected with this holiday is the building of the ofrenda, or altar. These altars are built in homes and cemeteries to honor the loved ones who have died. Families decorate the altars with photographs of the people who have passed away, as well as special offerings including their favorite foods and drink, candles, sugar skulls, marigolds and small momentos.