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Día de los Muertos – Student Leaders Building and Sharing Community

Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead), is a multi-day Mexican holiday that includes gatherings of families and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have died, helping to support their spiritual journey. The holiday is a cultural celebration, including several traditions: building private altars called ofrendas and honoring the deceased with calaveras, or aztec marigolds. The holiday’s origin traces back hundreds of years to indigenous observances.

At O’Dowd this year, students taught, learned and connected with Día de los Muertos in a variety of ways on campus. In the main lobby, Latinos Unidos club members Joey Grell, Mary Loesch ‘22, Javiera Quezada ‘20, Natalie Gutierrez ‘21, Enrique Moreno ‘20, Diego Madrigal ‘20, Alejandra Villanueva ‘22 , Joaquin Gruver-Raymond ‘22, Isabel Sandoval ‘22, Lydia Olguin ‘22 and Namixtu’lu Esteva ‘22 have constructed a Día de los Muertos ofrendas (altar). Jill Catanzaro ‘21 drew beautiful paper butterflies (butterflies are believed to hold the spirits of the departed) for all to write notes to loved ones who have passed.

In the main building is also a gallery of students’ beautiful skull designs created by students in art classes; the gallery includes a plaque providing education about Día de los Muertos and the project.

O’Dowd’s Campus Ministry Team and Latinos Unidos student club collaborated once again this year for the All Saints Day Mass, which included Día de los Muertos traditions. Areina Walker ‘20 sang “Remember Me” from Disney’s film Coco and the Mass included traditional folklore dance marking the holiday. Students from both clubs–Mia Moore ‘20, Abby Pagila ‘20, Josh Lonner ‘20, Destiny Davis ‘20, Grace Daum ‘20, and Matthew Ratto ‘20–shared stories of loved ones who have passed and stories of living saints who have deeply impacted their lives.

Thank you to our, teachers, community, and student leaders for all the ways you uplifted our community and helped us celebrate love and the very special holidays of All Saints Day in Catholic tradition and Día de los Muertos.


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