BRIARCLIFF MANOR N.Y. – Though just the name Day of the Dead sounds somber, Briarcliff Middle School students recently celebrated the traditional Mexican holiday in a lively and respectful fashion.
Day of the Dead, or El Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, commemorates the one day of the year that devotees believe deceased loved ones return to the earth – at least in spirit.
Johanna Foster, a teacher of seventh- and eighth- grade Spanish classes at the middle school, decided to offer students the opportunity to learn more about Mexican culture and food.
“We did a variety of fun activities,” Foster said in a press release.
Briarcliff students created máscaras de calavera (skull masks) and calacas (skeletons.) The ofrenda, an altar honoring deceased loved ones, included a sugar skull, candles, photos, marigold flowers, and the traditional pan de los muertos (bread of the dead.)
Students also prepared what Foster called “an amazing variety” of Mexican food including empanadas, quesadillas, and arroz con frijoles y pollo (rice with beans and chicken.)
“It was a fantastic celebration,” Foster said.
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