Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dia de los Muertos at the University

Today I slipped into a Dia de los Muertos observance at my university. This observance is particularly associated with Mexican culture. Ofrendas are created remembering friends or family members who have died. The ofrenda includes photos as well as sugar skulls, food and beverages.

One ofrenda was quite traditional.
A couple explained the photo of the man is the grandfather of the man in the partnership, and the woman is a mother of the woman. They went on to explain the use of color and food in an ofrenda.

One created by university members honors those who have died/been killed because they were gay.

A third ofrenda honored Minnesotans who have died in the Iraq/Afghanistan war.

This holiday always takes me back to 1987. When I adopted my second daughter from Colombia, I enrolled her in the newly developed Spanish Immersion School. This school had native speakers of Spanish, supplemented by Amity Scholars. The Amity Scholars were young adults, university graduates, who were also native Spanish speakers. When November 1 approached one taught the children about Dia de los Muertos, a holiday observance of great important to her.

We were stunned when later that month one parent came to the PTA meeting to complain about teaching children about this Mexican holiday. This parent characterized this as "Satanic." We were all so stunned that our jaws literally dropped, the Amity Scholar was devastated to have something so meaningful to her characterized in this manner. Finally someone gathered a thought together to tell that parent that if she didn't want to have her child learn about cultures from other countries she had enrolled her child in the wrong school.

No comments: