Honoring Día de Los Muertos: School Community Invited to Contribute to Altar

¡Saludos Mount Madonna School Community!

In preparation for the upcoming Día de Los Muertos (or “Day of the Dead”), I wanted to reach out to inform you of the anticipated festivities, and to invite your contributions. Though it is my first year at MMS, I wanted to continue the tradition of having a space for art and remembrance available to the school community, and am excited to share it with you.

Día de Los Muertos is an ancient and beautiful celebration that takes place most notably in Mexico and is the result of cultures and traditions merging throughout history. Indigenous observance of the days of the dead in the Americas pre-dates Spanish arrival. This celebration was then merged with Catholicism and Spanish traditions corresponding with All Saints and All Souls Day. During the course of two days (November 1 and 2), families gather and take a special journey to the grave sites and resting places of their loved ones to spend the days and evenings celebrating their past lives feasting, dancing, and sharing memories. This is a time of reflection and appreciation of the time we had with them. This special holiday is not related to Halloween and is not meant to be scary. This is a time to reflect and remember the special loved ones, the angels in our lives, even our pets who have passed away. Traditionally these ofrendas and altars are decorated with flowers, candles, sugar skulls, figurines, food and objects representing loved ones as well as highlighting familia, cultural, and community connections.
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We look forward to celebrating with students and giving all an opportunity to contribute and celebrate this special holiday.

Yours truly,

Mark Jones
High School Spanish Teacher

If your student or family would like to contribute to the ofrenda, here are some suggestions. Please bring the items to school by Friday, October 27, to give us time to set up the space on the following Monday. Your item(s) can be left at room B4, or in the school office.

  1. Bring marigolds/cempasuchitl to place at the altar

  2. Bring a photo or item that represents the special loved one you would like to honor

  3. Create a mini nicho/shadow box shrine. (download PDF templates and instructions)

  4. Make a sugar skull/calavera. Instructions: https://momsla.com/sugar-skulls/

  5. Decorate a paper skull. PDF Template attached

  6. Make papel picado. Instructions: https://youtu.be/9aY3y0C98nc


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 380 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The program, accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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