Spanish 102 Students Learn About Day of the Dead

two female students dressed in their day of the dead costumes; they are called Catrinas

Students in Prof. Nora Jabbour’s class will be educating the campus about Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrated in Mexico and Latin America countries to remember deceased friends and family. As part of this celebration, families and school children make altars with food, flowers, decorations and photos in memory of their loved ones.

“I show students slides of what the day represents, which is happiness rather than sadness,” says Jabbour. “It is important to keep a loved one’s memory alive, especially for children.”

Students in the class have created hand-made, festive altars that will be on display at Rhodes' Language Center on Nov. 2 as part of  Día de los Muertos.  The event will include hand-painted skulls and Mexican dishes, and attendees can learn how to construct paper flowers.

“I leave it open to students as to what kinds of altars to create,” says Jabbour. “Some honor people who are famous, and other altars are in remembrance of individuals from Latin America and of family members. Some are even for pets, because they too are a part of the family."

She also says individuals sometimes dress as Catrinas, elegantly-dressed figures who represent death, for the Day of the Dead. Pictured in the upper left of this page are Catrinas from the Rhodes 2014 event.

Jabbour explains that although the celebration is around the time of Halloween, the events are different. “Ours is really a celebration of love. This is an exciting project for students because it provides them an opportunity to learn about an important ritual or tradition of another culture.”