- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Lawrentians gathered on Monday evening to honor past loved ones in the School’s celebration of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). The event was co-sponsored by student clubs Latinos Unidos and the Catholic Students Organization, along with the Religious Life Council and Bunn Library. To mark the event, a Day of the Dead altar was built in the library, “BBC Feasts: Day of the Dead” was screened, sugar skulls and skull luminaries were decorated, and Mexican treats were served on the Bathhouse Café patio.
Community members were invited to add a photo to the altar, which was decorated with flowers, candles, and other items that represent the holiday. To guide soul to the altars, salt (to purify the soul), favorite foods and drink (for the soul to enjoy), and marigolds are traditional, as are representative items that recall things that the person loved in life. “Everything is about guiding the soul back home,” said Spanish teacher Josefina Ayllón Nuñez. “The altar is personal so the soul knows that this is the place for them to come.”
Día de Muertos is a time to celebrate the happy moments in the life of the person, Ayllón Nuñez explained. “We share anecdotes about the person, times that they were funny, or talk about things that they used to do,” she said. “We reflect on the person in a positive way.”
According to Rev. Sue Anne Steffey Morrow, in each religious tradition and culture there is a probing of the meaning of death and the mystery of life beyond death. In the Christian tradition, she explained, there is All Saints Day and in Mexico, it combines with the Day of the Day. “These are precious holy days to those who celebrate them. Holy Days that have abiding meaning and connection to those who have died, who now rest in the ‘communion of saints,’” she said.
Explorations Advisor Nina Laubach title said, “Día de Muertos celebrates an important and sacred part of community storytelling - our ancestors. Our history becomes not just about events or places, but about relationships. Knowing and naming our ancestors can be so important to forming a sense of family, heritage, and belonging.” Her family honored its ancestors on All Soul’s Day, attending Catholic mass, reading out the names of her Filipino ancestors four to five generations back, and celebrating their lives over a huge shared meal. “When we honor the deceased, or tell stories of loved ones, we connect our present day lives to the greater arc of life,” she said.
Alexis Gonzalez ’22, co-president of Latinos Unidos, was happy to see so many students and adults at the event. “I really appreciate that so many people came and hope that this will become a Lawrenceville tradition,” she said.
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