Día de los Muertos Chapel
On Wednesday, senior kindergarten teachers Eliza Clark and Eboni Washington spoke about the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos during Chapel. Ms. Clark first addressed the senior kindergarten through third grade classes by saying that she had been enjoying looking through the St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's calendar and noticing the many holidays that are listed. Some of these, she said, were unfamiliar to her. Ms. Clark and Ms. Washington feel fortunate to come from different backgrounds and cultures, in part, because it allows them to learn about the holidays that each other celebrate. "One holiday that Ms. Washington knows a lot about just happened this past weekend. It is called 'Día de los Muertos', or 'Day of the Dead'. She knows a lot about this holiday because it is celebrated in the country that Ms. Washington's family is from."
Over the weekend, Ms. Washington had been reminded of the popular animated film Coco. She said that she loved the movie so much, she had seen it more than once. Many students and teachers in Chapel raised their hands to show that they had also seen Coco and enjoyed it as well. "It is such a beautiful story about a boy named Miguel who finds his ancestors in the Land of the Dead." Inspired by Día de los Muertos, Coco in many ways brings to life the Mexican holiday which is about spending time with family and friends and celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed away.
Ms. Washington shared photos of objects that are commonly used to celebrate Día de los Muertos and explained their significance. They included an ofrenda (a commemorative altar), calavera (a decorative skull sometimes made of sugar), pan de muertos (a type of sweet bread), and calendulas (marigold flowers). Afterward, Ms. Washington presented her own ofrenda which she had created to include her loved ones whom she said, "no longer live on earth." Among them were her grandmother whom she called "Nani," her grandpa who lived to be 100 years old, and her cousin Raymond whom she said she misses and would like to see again. Pointing to the last photo, Ms. Washington said, "That's my dad's mom. When she did live on earth, she lived here in New York City. That's her in Central Park."
Ms. Washington concluded by saying, "If you have a person that you miss, maybe next year you can celebrate with me on Día de los Muertos, and we can think of ways to celebrate them together."