As I begin my second year here at Hollywood Schoolhouse, I can’t help but feel so much gratitude. I have found a place where I feel very much at home and where my culture is embraced.

Español is much more than another language to learn. It is learning about the culture of 20 different countries. Español is the second most spoken language in the world, and I am thankful that here at Hollywood Schoolhouse, we understand this and have the willingness, curiosity,  and open mind to learn and accept everything we can about different cultures. My students are eager and excited to learn about many of the Hispanic customs and celebrations!

One of the biggest celebrations that we have and love to share with the world is our Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

I like to explain to my students that this day is not about being scared or sad. This is a day were we celebrate life. The life of those who are no longer with us, but will always live within us. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a two-day festival that takes place every November 1 and 2. And although most strongly identified with Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America and everywhere with a Latino population, including Los Angeles, California.

This year, we made masks, posters, treat bags, and even ceramic skulls in celebration of Dia de los Muertos. We talked about this day and how it is celebrated in different countries all over North America, Central America, and South America. I shared about my own family customs and how we celebrate this day at home.

Although the celebration is bittersweet and its symbols macabre, Dia de los Muertos usually maintains a happy atmosphere well into the evening. Family members recall departed loved ones, sharing humorous and endearing stories around graves or ofrendas. This is a time to learn about our ancestors, how they lived, and what they did, it is our own way of keeping our family tree in our families.