‘Day of the Dead’ celebrated at Catholic schools

By Sean Hightower, Contributing writer

Capping off a series of three holidays recognized by many Americans and Christians as connections to their deceased loved ones, St. Paul’s School in Covington held a “Day of the Dead” ceremony Nov. 2. It followed the annual All Saints’ Day School Mass in the Briggs Assembly Center. 

At the service, students in upper-level Spanish courses offered special readings, lit candles and held baskets for the student body’s prayer intentions for their loved ones.

Freshman Zachary Nichols, who is studying Spanish, read an explanation of the traditions surrounding the “Day of the Dead  (Dia de los Muertos).

 “The first day of the holiday is called ‘dia del los inocentes, ‘when the lives of deceased children are celebrated.’ Children costume as skeletons and hold an activity similar to trick or treating, except children must sing to receive candy.

“On the second day, deceased adults are celebrated. It is believed that heaven’s gates open on this day, so people can reunite with their families.”

Altars with memorabilia from a family’s deceased member are erected, and they contain four elements:

  • Fire in the altar candles to light the way for souls to get into heaven, and fire as a symbol of burning and earthly pain. 
  • Water to quench the thirst of the souls during their journey; but water is not only the lifeblood of humanity, it also kills by drowning its victims.
  • Wind through the designs that blow in the air in honor of the deceased during festivities, and wind as a source of power and cooling during the summer, and wind’s destructive power, namely in hurricanes.
  • Lastly, earth represented through the food grown from earth that is on the altar to feed the deceased. Earth is God’s sacred kingdom and provides for humanity like God’s loving hand. 
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