About 170 students from Templeton High School’s Spanish classes celebrated a large-scale cultural heritage lesson Wednesday to recognize Dia de los Muertos, a widely observed Mexican holiday to honor the lives of those who have died.
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries worldwide on Nov. 1 and 2, but the students decided to observe the holiday on Wednesday to incorporate its traditions into the school week, said Camille Hayes, a Spanish teacher at Templeton High School.
The lesson assigned different Spanish classes to work together to craft their own take-home projects. The students then brought their creations back to school and assembled them into one showcase for the rest of the student body to view in the quad at lunchtime.
Overall, the lesson was designed to expose students to the holiday in real-life ways.
“There are huge communities of people celebrating this event in our community and all over the world,” Hayes said. “It’s about them seeing that it’s relevant to their lives outside of class.”
Projects in the lesson included some Spanish classes creating shoebox dioramas to remember loved ones who have passed away.
“It’s a box of memories — things they enjoyed doing, things they loved,” Hayes said.
Another class set up a Central America-inspired shrine and decorated it with objects of cultural significance, such as festive multicolor “papel picado” flags and banners.
A third group of students made a colorful backdrop for the quad setup in addition to others who built a life-size cardboard cutout of La Calavera Catrina, an elaborately dressed female skeleton and Dia de los Muertos icon.