Día de los Muertos: Why is it significant?


Katy Babcock

The Spanish hallway is decorated with mariposas for Día de los Muertos.

Katy Babcock, Copy Editor

Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday observed for the first few days of November. Every year, families of Mexican descent create breathtaking altars in remembrance of their lost loved ones. Carefully adorned with old pictures, marigolds, candles and traditional dishes, these altars welcome the dead on their return home. 

During Día de los Muertos, the spirits of passed loved ones return to the living to visit; it is the time when the bridge between life and death is connected every year. Although they cannot be seen, these spirits are felt; their presence is cherished. 

Sophomore Andres Bravo Garza moved to PV in 2021 from Monterrey, México. He celebrates this festivity with his family. “My mother’s side of the family usually makes an altar. We put a picture of them along with their favorite snacks, and some pan de muerto so that they can take it back with them after the holiday ends,” said Garza. 

As Día de los Muertos reconnects the living to the dead, it also brings the living closer together. This is one of Bravo Garza’s favorite parts of Día de los Muertos, “I really enjoy setting it up because I get some quality time with my family.” Families and friends gather to bond while remembering their loved ones. 

Over the years, cultural globalization has raised awareness of the holiday. Pixar’s “Coco” introduced a new demographic to the traditional Mexican holiday. Last year, Target even started a Día de los Muertos collection in tandem with their Halloween section. 

However, there are still aspects of this festival that are obscure to most; PV Spanish teachers are determined to raise awareness about the unique holiday. 

This year, Spanish teachers at PV arranged a Día de los Muertos activity for their students. Spanish students created origami butterflies in honor of a lost loved one. Then, they adorned the wings with adjectives describing their chosen person. Now, countless butterflies decorate the walls of the Spanish hallway. This interactive lesson both commemorated the dead and educated students about the holiday. 

Teacher Rachel Hart spends a week with her Spanish 2 students discussing the significance of Día de los Muertos. “I think that it is a really great holiday to celebrate and remember loved ones. It has lovely traditions!” said Hart. 

Contrary to popular belief, this Mexican festivity is not a version of Halloween. It has nothing to do with fear or sadness. Día de los Muertos is a holiday of joy—celebrating the dead instead of fearing or mourning them.