Chagrin Falls Middle School Students Create Ofrendas for “Day of the Dead”

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The eighth-grade Spanish classes at Chagrin Falls Middle School (CFMS) celebrated the Latin-American tradition of Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” by creating ofrendas. These are offerings in the form of a home altar that includes objects and photos to honor a deceased loved one.

In many Mexican schools, classes compete to create an ofrenda that is beautiful and authentic. After the teachers vote, the winning class receives money toward their graduation party. At CFMS, the winning class received extra credit points for their victory. Each Spanish class created their own ofrenda in the Innovation Center.

There were requirements for the ofrenda which included creating an offering that was creative, authentic, neat in presentation, and had a total of three levels. Each level had its own requirements as well.

Students had to read an article written in Spanish to accurately create authentic levels of the ofrenda.  The top level needed arches or a papel picado, a photo of the deceased person the student was honoring, and flowers. The second level was supposed to be the largest and would be divided into four parts: salt, favorite food of the deceased, drinks, and favorite objects of the deceased. The final level had to include candles, papel picados and other favorite objects of the deceased person.

Students could also include other elements including incense, bread of the dead, water, or a calavera satirical poem about someone. Skulls in the form of puppets, toys, candy, or figurines acting out daily life were also encouraged, which are a reminder of the inevitability of death.

Connecting both virtual and in-class students through a shared project, all Virtual Academy students were given virtual tours of the Innovation Center with the ofrendas in progress and encouraged to either send in items to add to their class presentation in the IC or they could create their own ofrenda in their home.  Photographed below is Will Asplen, FaceTiming with Kai for his virtual tour of the ofrendas displays.

Alaina Hawe´s sent in items to be used for her class´ table, which was the winning in-class ofenda table. Congratulations to sixth period class, for winning with their honoring of Robin Williams.  Congratulations also to our Virtual Academy from home entry winner, eighth period´s Kai DeLeon.

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