The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The pandemic looms over communities as they find alternative ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos

Valeria Gonzalez (‘23)
Valeria Gonzalez (‘23) celebrates Día de los Muertos with her colorful “ofrenda,”altar in Spanish.

People from different communities and backgrounds come together to remember the loved ones that they have lost through a celebration of life each year on November 1st. This holiday, more commonly referred to as Día de los Muertos, is widely celebrated by Latin and Hispanic communities all over the world. Many families and communities have lost a great deal this year due to the ongoing pandemic, which is why these communities value Día de los Muertos now more than ever. 

According to folklore, the spirits of the dead walk among the living on November 1st. Families remember their loved ones, who have passed away and celebrate their lives. Día de los Muertos allows people to confront and accept death 

Valeria Gonzalez (‘23) celebrated Día de los Muertos with her family by creating an altar to remember those who have passed and welcome them. The altar she created had three levels.  

“The first level is where we put the arc of flowers, which are cempasúchiles, and the candles,” Valeria said. “The second level is every one of our loved one’s photos. Finally, the last level are things they loved while they were living, such as their favorite foods, games, books, and the pan de muertos.”  

Valeria also mentioned that she sprinkled salt on the altar to represent purity. According to Valeria, the flowers on the first level have a beautiful and strong smell that helps lead the spirits of loved ones to their family and friends that are still living. Every altar created for Día de los Muertos is extremely thought-out to the very last detail and quite unique.  

Fran Torres (’22) describes how the pandemic affected his original plans for the holiday. 

“This year, we couldn’t celebrate like we normally would,” Fran said. “My father died two years ago, in Mexico, and this year we wanted to fly out and celebrate the Day of the Dead with our family in Mexico. Because of COVID, we were not able to fly out, and could not celebrate with everyone.”  

Although Fran is not religious, he enjoys the traditions associated with the holiday. He is most attracted to the beautiful colors and candles in the graveyards, which contrasts with the cloud of darkness surrounding death. Fran reminds us that Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate all the good things that happened in a person’s life, not a day of mourning.  

This year he set up an ofrenda, which is Spanish for altar, with a variety of pictures of his passed family members, flowers, and candles; he spent the day remembering his dad by listening to his dad’s favorite songs. 

Due to Los Angeleslarge Latinx community, it is one of the main centers of celebration in Southern California for Día de Los Muertos. People set up altars, as well as displays of beautiful artwork across the streets of Los Angeles. COVID-19 restrictions made celebrating with one’s community very difficult; however, many people have found alternative ways to keep their traditions alive. 

Los Angeles has always been rich in Hispanic and Latin Culture, but one of the most well-known centers for MexicanAmerican culture in Los Angeles is Olvera Street. In previous years, Olvera Street hosted events with skull face painting, parades, and ofrendas“.  

Due to the CDC guidelines in Los Angeles, the only event that still took place this year was the display of outdoor altars; however, there were many restrictions. Social distancing and masks were required as well as limited access to the event.  

This year, the annual Día de los Muertos 5k was hosted virtually. This 5k would normally start at Olvera Street, but this year the rules were a little different. Participants must run in any 5k or 10k race, in which they tracked their progress. Once they entered their progress, they would receive prizes based on the progress they made.  

Not only does Olvera street host events, but all of Los Angeles showcases amazing artwork. Murals all over Los Angles are painted with colorful skulls, bright orange Mexican marigolds called cempasúchiles, and pictures of celebrities who have passed over the years in celebration of their life.  

Not every family celebrated through these virtual events and artwork, but whether it was creating altars or decorating gravestones, families still found ways to pay tribute to their lost loved ones.  

In times of stress and despair, it becomes more necessary to celebrate with your loved ones and remember those who cannot be with you. Día de los Muertos is a day where families can celebrate their lost loved ones and appreciate that they are now at peace.  

Rather than spending the day in sadness and grief, communities choose to come together and celebrate by decorating with bright colors, eating, and dancing, so they can put their loved ones on a pedestal of remembrance.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Narineh Madikians
Narineh Madikians, Public Editor
Narineh Madikians (23) is coming back to Webb for her senior year as a completely new person. Along with her new position as the Webb Canyon Chronicle's new Public Editor, Narineh is also a head peer advisor and a member of the VWS varsity volleyball team. Even though her senior year is full of change, Narineh still loves humanities courses from past years such as Advanced Studies Creative Nonfiction. She encourages everyone at Webb to take this class as it has made a significant impact on her writing techniques. This year, she is focusing on the future while also trying to stay present at the moment, hoping to make as many lasting memories as she can before she leaves for college. After a long and busy week at school, Narineh uses her weekends to recharge. She loves to go out with her friends or stay at home and watch movies with her parents and three dogs: Jeckie, Dash, and Rex. At the end of the day, Narineh unwinds by listening to her favorite artists such as Mac Miller, Frank Ocean, and Childish Gambino. Narineh will use her new and old experiences throughout Webb, the WCC, and outside life, to make her senior year unforgettable.   Favorite Song: "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and The Shondells
Eva Annabi
Eva Annabi, Co-Editor of Sports & Social Media Manager
Just like a spirited raccoon, Eva Annabi (‘23)’s lively enthusiasm and humor make it natural for her to be an amazing Social Media Manager for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. Eva lives by the quote “ride the wave”, like when she is spending time together with friends or binging shows like Love Island instead of doing her homework. Her various leadership roles as a head day student prefect and president of the Middle Eastern and Rotary clubs also allow her to discuss important topics to her, such as representation for minorities and women at Webb. Some of her special talents include wiggling her ears and rapping the fastest part in Rap God. As she steps into her role as the WCC Social Media Manager this year as well as the Co-Editor of Sports, Eva is thrilled to provide entertaining and informative media content in an effort to increase readership.   Favorite Song: "Ransom" by Lil Tecca
Oma Sukul
Oma Sukul, Editor of Photography
One hundred kilometers an hour. Blink, and you’ll miss it. Hesitate, and it’s too late. But for Oma Sukul (‘23), Editor of Photography, it’s just another day of volleyball. Her lightning-fast reflexes not only help her as a varsity player out on the court, but they also enable her to capture spontaneous moments that are featured on the front page. However, Oma also treasures the slower parts of life. If one were to visit her home in Rancho Cucamonga, she would likely be found indulging in romance stories alongside her cat Lucky or singing along to Niel Diamond with her dad. She cherishes her connections with her friends and family, and you can always count on her to be genuine, friendly, and delightful in conversation. Born in Toronto, Canada, her transcontinental family means that she has roots spanning the Pacific Ocean. Contributing to dozens of articles last year, this year Oma seeks to further explore her creative side. Rediscovering her passion for the WCC's quizzes, she continues her quest to make the publication engaging and entertaining for all. One thing’s certain: whatever life throws at her, whatever the speed, you can count on Oma Sukul to spike it back with a smile.   Favorite song: “I am... I said” by Neil Diamond 

Comments (0)

All Webb Canyon Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *