“From November 1 to November 2, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life and death. Families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration,” writes Angelica Venturina in The Mirror, the student newspaper at Van Nuys High School in California.
The holiday, which originated in Mexico, is a day when people remember their dead loved ones. Families and friends typically come together to set up and decorate ofrendas, or altars.
“I celebrate Día de los Muertos by lighting candles for my loved ones and friends who passed away,” she quoted one senior as saying. “We light candles for them and place them in front of their pictures. We also visit the cemetery, leaving flowers for our other dead loved ones that have passed on.”
Some people celebrate the holiday by bringing treats such as flowers for deceased loved ones. Another student quoted in Ms Venturina’s article said she purchased marigolds to decorate the altars she and her family would gather around to celebrate the holiday.
According to an article by Nuvia Rodriguez, Magaly Mendiola, and Yessenia Gonzalez in The Pony Express News at Morton East High School in Cicero, Illinois, more than 90 percent of people who live in Mexico celebrate the holiday in some way. They report that every altar includes the four important elements: wind, earth, water, and fire.
“Water is left in a pitcher so the spirits can quench their thirst. Papel picado represents the wind. Earth is represented by food, especially bread. Candles are often left in the form of a cross to represent the cardinal directions, so the spirits can find their way. Flowers are also used and represent the fugacity of life,” they write.