Gone But Not Forgotten

Día de los Muertos invites children to celebrate lives well-lived.

Every year on November 1, the Sidwell Friends community honors Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, with community ofrendas—altars where students and staff can make offerings to celebrate the lives of those they’ve lost, from ancient ancestors to grandparents to pets.

At the Lower School in particular, Día de los Muertos weaves together a community experience that includes interfaith dialogue, Meeting for Worship, art, music, cultural studies, and Spanish-language.

“Our Lower School students have been hard at work learning about the significance of Día de los Muertos in countries across the Americas,” says Lower School Principal Adele Paynter. “They have also been working in Spanish and art classes to bring the ofrenda to life to honor and celebrate our collective ancestors (and yes, that may include our goldfish!).”

Leading the way was PLAS (Parents of Latin American Students), who helped organize volunteers and coordinate submissions to the ofrenda. They also participated in a special community Meeting for Worship in which children and adults were encouraged to bring in a photo, drawing, or small memento of someone they wished to honor.

Día de los Muertos wrapped up with a celebration hosted by Lower School Spanish teachers Ángela Ballesteros Gomez and Luz Marina Cardozo Munoz that included movie-style snacks (and pan de muerto) and a screening of Coco, the Oscar-winning film about the Day of the Dead.

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