CHS Embraces Cultural Customs, Traditions and Exploration
Posted on 11/20/2013

Covina High School embraces cultural customs, traditions and exploration as a means for students to increase their depth and breadth of knowledge in relation to the world around them. Spanish I and II classes at CHS examine El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a spiritual holiday widely celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and November 2nd. CHS Spanish teacher MariCarmen Torres has included this educational hands-on experience in her curriculum and, along with her students, has been participating in this community celebration at Covina Park since its onset in 2010. She actively engages her students to take part to gain information and understanding of this beautiful, cultural, traditional holiday. “It's a wonderful event and also an opportunity for the students to learn first-hand about a beloved tradition from Mexico. It's important for students to compare and contrast these traditions with the ones here in the United States. They will probably realize they have more in common than they thought!”

Students learned that El Dia de los Muertos is a day to remember those who have departed the world and is celebrated with love, respect and surprising humor. Spanish I students culled facts, data, information and awareness by viewing videos that explained the significance of "El Dia de los Muertos" and how it is celebrated in Mexico. Students then constructed mini altars, or “ofrendas”; one of the key elements devised to commemorate a deceased loved one or famous person. Following Aztec tradition, the altar included the four main elements: Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. Bright orange marigolds ("cempasuchil") were also used to decorate the altar and the petals are scattered as a path to guide the soul back home. Spanish II students designed and created skeleton masks, “calaveras”, after researching traditional Mexican designs. The altars and masks were shared on campus the week prior to the celebration and were displayed at the annual "Dia de los Muertos" event at Covina Park with Covina High School’s exhibit winning a first place prize!