Each year at AGC, students, staff and families honor lost loved ones as we celebrate Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, during the last days of October and first days of November.
While it is now is celebrated alongside the Catholic triduum of All Hallows’ Eve (now the ever popular Halloween), All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, Día de los Muertos began 4,000 years ago as a late summer Aztec celebration of Mictecacaihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. Spanish Catholic conquistadors pushed the celebration later in the year to correspond with Allhallowtide. The traditions Mictecacaihuatl live on today in the modern celebration of Día de los Muertos. Rather than inspiring fear, this holiday celebrates death as a continuance of life and a natural stage of the human experience. During this celebration, we make ofrendas (offerings) of flowers, sugar skulls, and favorite treats to those we have lost.
At AGC, this is a time for us to celebrate our multi-cultural community, honor lost loved ones, and shares our feelings about loss. All week students visit the altar, with a class or simply with a friend. This is an important opportunity for children to mourn or address death in a safe and positive way. Día de los Muertos is celebrated all over Latin America and the United States and similar traditions exist in the Philippines, Oceania and Europe. Many other cultures honor the dead with festivals, such as the Qingming Festival in China, the Japanese Buddhist Bon Festival, or the Nepali Gai Jatra.