Dressed in traditional ethnic garb and makeup, Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz taught Centre Avenue sixth-graders about El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as a precursor to the students sculpting sugar skulls in art class.
Mrs. Ruiz shared information about the history of the Day of the Dead, a holiday that remembers family members and friends who have passed on. Students learned about altars and the elements that are used to create them as part of the custom, including candles, marigolds, photos, sugar skulls, water, food and cut paper decorations, called “papel picado.” Mrs. Ruiz also explained to students that celebrations sometimes occur at graveyards, with family members gathering to share stories about their loved ones. The students enjoyed “pan de muerto,” a bread that is used as part of the Day of the Dead festivities, and were educated on “La Catrina,” a zinc etching by famous printmaker and illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada. “La Catrina” represents the Day of the Dead and the Mexican people’s willingness to laugh at death itself.
In addition to learning about the Day of the Dead, students learned
about Mexican culture and folk art and the origin of this interesting
holiday which is celebrated in Mexico, parts of Central America and also
in some communities of the United States.