Honoring the dead with a lively celebration

Van Nuys High School goes all out in celebrating Día de los Muertos

Concheros+dancers+make+their+way+to+the+victory+stand%2C+ready+to+perform+and+excite%21

THE MIRROR | ZACHARY SKOLNICK

Concheros dancers make their way to the victory stand, ready to perform and excite!

Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a day when Mexicans honor the memory of their departed loved ones. 

In celebration of this holiday, Van Nuys High School’s administrators set up various activities throughout the week for students to enjoy. Additionally, an ofrenda was set up in the front of the main office that students could add to.

The ofrenda included marigold or Cempasuchil flowers, candles, pictures of deceased loved ones and offerings of their favorite foods.

One of these activities was the festival-like experience on Wednesday, during lunch at the victory stand and quad, where face painting, origami flower making, flag dances and the Concheros dance performance took place.

The Concheros dance, which was the highlight of the week, was created by the Chichimecas, Aztecas and Mexicans. Performing this dance is important to maintain a sense of tradition, despite the effects of time. 

Another event our school planned was the Día de los Muertos spirit week where ASB suggested themes for each day, and students and administrators dressed up accordingly. 

From November 1st to 4th, the themes were:

Tuesday – Culture Outfit Day: students wore an article of clothing representing their culture

Wednesday – Skeleton Face Paint Day: students came to school dressed in their Día de Los Muertos attire and painted their faces as skeletons

Thursday – Cowboy/Cowgirl Dress-up Day: students came dressed in their western attire

Friday – Door Decorating Contest: students and teachers decorated their classroom doors in the spirit of Día de Los Muertos

On Thursday during lunch, Spanish music played while skull-shaped sugar cookies were provided for students by the quad and Victory stand. There was also a board where students could write messages to their lost loved ones.

Students around VNHS celebrate Día de los Muertos in different ways across their respective families. 

Isabel Valles, a student at Van Nuys explained that she celebrates Día de los Muertos every year by going to a festival with her family. 

Every year me and my family go to a day of the dead festival located in a cemetery in Los Angeles and we look at all the altars families put up for their loved ones and we celebrate by playing music, watching performances and eating traditional Mexican foods””

— Isabel Valles

Valles said. 

She also said that seeing all the altars that other families set up for their loved ones encouraged her to create her own. 

Another student, Jazmin Alejandre, talked about how her family also sets up ofrendas for Día de los Muertos. 

“My family and I make an ofrenda every year in our living room,” she said. “We also buy tons of cempasuchil flowers to honor our dead and decorate the ofrenda.

While some families go all out of Día de los Muertos, others keep things pretty simple like Kimberly Nunez. Nunez said that when she was younger she used to go watch a Día de los Muertos parade with her family. 

She explained the reason why she doesn’t do ofrendas is because no one close to her has passed away.

Because a majority of the population at VNHS is Hispanic, the celebration of Día de los Muertos was a huge deal.

The celebration was a success and many students showed up to see exhibitions of Mexican culture.