San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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San Marcos Celebrates Día de los Muertos

Ofrenda on display in the library

This Thursday, November 2, music filled the air in the quad, students danced, and games were played, all in celebration of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The Mexican holiday, celebrated from November 1-2, honors the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Families eat delicious food, spend time together, and build ofrendas which hold pictures of deceased loved ones, candles, food they loved in life, and marigold petals that will guide them on their journey into the world of the living. It is not a day of mourning, but a day of celebration, full of family and love.

“My family usually puts up my grandma’s altar and we make her food,” said MECHA president, senior Mitzi Ojendis Hernandez.

The event held in the quad, organized by San Marcos’ chapter of MECHA, was one of many events put on in the San Marcos community to celebrate Día de los Muertos. 

“MECHA’s role in this is to facilitate the activities, as well as to set-up the event along with other groups, such as the bilingual ambassadors,” said MECHA advisor and SM Spanish teacher, Ms. Heredia. “Although the Day of the Dead has Aztec origins mixed with Catholic beliefs, it’s well known around the world.”

On Sunday, October 22, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art hosted a free family event that featured altars created by Ms. Heredia’s AP Spanish students. Attendees could also make Día de los Muertos crafts, listen to poetry, and enjoy music and dance by groups such as Banda de Viento San Jorge, Grupo musical Los hijos de San Juan Mixtepec, Los Catrines y ña’na ña’a Snuviko, and more. 

The altars put on display at the museum were moved back to San Marcos after the event took place, and are now available to view in the San Marcos library. 

On the evening of November 2, a final celebration took place on the back patio of the San Marcos library. Students and their families enjoyed a potluck, music, face painting, coloring, and a papel picado making workshop. 

“It’s important to include these types of events in SM, as many of us celebrate these in our culture,” said Spanish teacher Ms. Heredia. “It’s a celebration that allows us to commemorate our heritage, and honor our ancestors, which is so crucial in the Latinx values. Family unit is one of the most important things for us, if not, the most important, and we love showcasing this tradition among our school community.”

Lastly, the San Marcos Writer’s Society will be holding a November poetry contest. Poems are due by November 30, and can be about subjects such as Day of the Dead and family and friends. Winners will receive a Chaucer’s gift card. 

Holding events such as these is a great way to unite the community and to celebrate the diversity of our student population. The student-made altars will be on display in the library through next week, so make sure to stop by to see them while they are still there, and to submit your poetry by November 30.

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Noelle Cabrera
Noelle Cabrera, Editor in Chief
Noelle is an 12th grader at San Marcos High School. This is her fourth year on The King’s Page and she is now the Editor in Chief. Journalism is currently her favorite class and she is also a member of the San Marcos Ethnic Studies Club. Outside of school she volunteers with animals, is a member of the Youth Making Change Board and is in the Santa Barbara Chapter of GenUp.
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