Traditions in Translation
Learning cultural traditions is an important part of all language curriculum. At the Sixth-grade level, LOTE teacher Mrs. Donna Liscia assigned her sixth graders a research project on “el Dia de Los Muertos,” (translated: The Day of the Dead). “In the Spanish speaking world,” Mrs. Liscia explained, “it is a celebration of a tradition passed down from the Spanish people over 3,000 years ago.”
The cultural belief that “death is a stepping stone to another world” has developed into a family celebration in which the deceased ancestors are commemorated on All Saints Day, November 1st and All Souls Day, November 2nd On these days, it is believed, spirits come back to visit. (In fact, the American Halloween or Hallow’s Eve shares its roots in this tradition.)
For el Dia de Los Muertos, families visit graves and bring flowers and candies and celebrate with good food and drink! They decorate with skulls and expect to be visited by the spirits of their ancestors.
Mrs. Liscia’s students did a thorough job researching this tradition and created fascinating sculptures and artwork which went on display.