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Hola and Feliz día de Muertos everyone! Yesterday, Wenona celebrated Mexico’s Day of the Dead with dancing in the Undercroft to the sounds of a Mariachi band.
The Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated from 31 October to 2 November. Its origins stretch back thousands of years to the time of the Aztecs, who considered the dead to be members of their communities. Today, the celebrations for Día de los Muertos centre around the belief that the dead return to earth. Food is a huge part of the celebrations as the belief is that the ancestral spirits work up a serious hunger travelling back to the realm of the living. At homes across Mexico, altars or ‘ofrendas’ are at the core of the celebrations, loaded with offerings like ‘pan de muertos’ or ‘bread of the dead’ to lure spirits back.
Ms Furlong Alexanderson’s Spanish students spent Tuesday morning decorating little sugar skulls, which they placed upon an ‘altar’ in the Undercroft, along with bright orange marigolds, or cempasúchil, as they are known in Mexico. The flowers are another iconic part of Día de los Muertos, with their bright colours helping to guide the spirits of the deceased back home.
The Day of the Dead celebrations was a fantastic opportunity for our Spanish students to learn cultural beliefs, traditions and differences, helping to broaden their perspective of the world and bringing a sense of place to their Spanish studies.
Yesterday, one of the librarians from Instituto Cervantes – a Spanish Language School in Sydney – joined the Year 10 Spanish students to discuss books. The students had an opportunity to show her the children’s book they have created. Next week they will be reading their stories to the Year 3 students in Woodstock.
A huge thank you to Ms Furlong Alexanderson and our Spanish students for bringing Spanish and the cultures and traditions of Mexico alive this week!