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Students given mini-lesson on Day of the Dead
The dead came back to life on Thursday at the second annual Dia de los Muertos celebration hosted by Porterville College.
Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that remembers and honors the dead with offerings of food, altar remembrances and decorations.
Students from Vandalia Elementary received firsthand insight into the history of Dia de Los Muertos via a slideshow presentation which illustrated different altars, including one with orange skulls and garlands of colorful flowers, and were then able to take part in a skeleton drawing activity.
“[I] learned that they celebrate people that have died,” said fifth grader Marilyn Brown as she carefully drew her green skull on the sidewalk. Nearby, fellow fifth graders Denise Perez and Celeste Flores were busy working on a gigantic white skull creation with a checkerboard chin.
“They make some fiestas for the dead,” said Perez.
Hosted by the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MECHA), the event featured a number of altars filled with items that represented certain departed persons and a face painting station.
One altar was dedicated to Charles Gurrero, the former vice president of student services at Porterville College who recently passed away. His table was decorated with pictures, newspaper clippings and golf balls.
“He was really into golf,” said friend Mercy Herrera the co-adviser of MECHA who welcomed the children to the days activities. Herrera was pleased with the day’s progress.
“[It] went actually well. Every year we get new leadership and [they] rise to the occasion,” said Herrea who pointed out that the day was centered on one idea.
“The idea that we embrace death rather than fear it,” stated Herrera.
Another altar displayed a Mexican flag with colorful flowers sprayed here and there and pictures of past Mexican revolutionaries including Pancho Villa which was put together by MECHA vice president Juan Robles.
[We] want to create awareness that we may not be in Mexico, [but we ] still celebrate tradition and kids knowing different cultures,” said Robles.
A third was decorated with a white tablecloth and was adorned with a Pirates Jersey and pictures of a former PC softball player who had passed away.