APB celebrates Day of the Dead

One of the most important holidays in Mexican culture is the Day of the Dead, otherwise known as “El Día de los Muertos.” This holiday can be traced back for hundreds of years to the time of the Aztecs, and it is still celebrated by many people today.
In many regions of Mexico, Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. November 1st is the day to remember children that have passed away and November 2nd is the day to remember the adults.
At Animo Pat Brown Charter High School, Art teacher Paul Botello will celebrate this holiday at the school like he has celebrated it in previous years.
“The day of the dead is November 2nd and it is an Aztec holiday,” Botello said. “It celebrates life and death in the sense that it is a day to remember those who passed away and that you loved and want to always keep in your heart.”
Although this day is about death, Botello says that this day also celebrates life.
People all over Mexico celebrate “El Día de los Muertos” in different ways.
“Celebrations, parades, it’s really outrageous how these people really celebrate this,” Botello said. “People eating and drinking and dancing and doing all kinds of different things are daily rituals of life.”
The marigold is a traditional and very strong smelling flower that is used on this day. It is very significant because it guides the dead that “cannot see” to the home of their families.
“These marigolds are all over Mexico during this time,” Botello said.
Another significant symbol of this holiday are sugar skulls, which are decorated and made very colorful so little children can eat them.
“And that’s there to give the kids who are growing up a sense of like, ‘Hey, there is an afterlife, there is an opportunity to be with those who have passed away.’” Botello said.
In Botellos’ art class, students spend the week of the Day of the Dead having fun by making festive “calacas” out of glitter and paint.
“Everybody gets a good grade because it’s the participation that matters,” Botello said.
This year he plans on celebrating in a similar way.
“We’re going to celebrate by making traditional folk art, Mexican folk art,” Botello said. “We’re going to make an altar, we’re going to have flowers–I’m going to bring flowers–we’re going to have ‘papel picado’.”
Botello says that an area at the school will be reserved for him to make an altar. He says that he is thinking about putting up photographs of great people who made a difference in this world to make the lives of others better, such as Cesar Chavez or Martin Luther King.
Botello says that Day of the Dead is very important because it helps people appreciate the value of life. He says there is an Aztec saying, “It is more important to fear life than to fear death.”
“You know, it’s more important to really live life instead of always living in fear of death,” Botello said. “And so, what I get from it is that, hey man, life is there and the celebration is there to make people less afraid of death because it’s just a part of life.”

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