El Día de los Muertos

El Día de los Muertos

Diana Alvarado Soto, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

As November came, El Día de los Muertos was celebrated by many Mexican and Hispanic families in our Passaic community. Ms. Velarde, one of the Spanish teachers and advisor of Spanish National Honor Society at PASE, showed her appreciation of this celebration in her classroom with an altar.

For the past four years in the first week of November, Ms. Velarde’s classroom has the altar where her students find a way to decorate with pictures of their loved ones, skulls, fruits, flowers, lights, and pan de muerto. This sample of the culture in Mexico and in other Latin American countries is important since other students and even teachers who do not know about this date can learn with the help of those who celebrate the Day of the Dead.

El Dia de los Muerto, is an important celebration for Hispanics and Latinos since it unites families to commemorate and show respect to their loved ones who are no longer with us. Ms. Velarde was actually inspired by her students to do this. Although she is of part of the Hispanic Diaspora, the holiday is not celebrated in her culture.

“It was my children, my students, who are now Seniors, who taught me the great importance that this event has in their cultures and in the Passaic community. Before coming to Passaic, I knew what the Day of the Dead was, but I had never participated in any aspect of the event, since I had not had so many children from countries like Mexico where it is a very important holiday. It is not celebrated in my culture, but I find it magical to see students show what they know and the influence it has on their lives” said Velarde. 

Velarde also believes in highlighting culture and emphasizing that Hispanic and Latino is a big umbrella of a connected yet diverse people.

“It seems important to me that the different cultures of PASE coexist, learn, and appreciate each other. The diversity in our corridors is a small representation of what this country and the world is like! For me it is important that my students have the reins of their learning, that they get 100% involved, and it is essential that they have the opportunity to share important aspects of their lives and their cultures.”

Senior, Jesus Capellan has been a student of Ms. Valerde’s for 3 years. Every year, he participates in the classroom celebration and was surprised to learn it is very similar to something he and his family does in honor of his grandfather.

“I do not celebrate el Día de los Muertos, but my family does something similar. We come together every year for my grandfather’s birthday, who unfortunately passed away. We come together and pray for him.”

El Dia de los Muerto takes place every year on November 1-2.