Anzar students celebrate the spirits on Dia de los Muertos

Left to right, Melvin Carranza, Luis Renteria and Alejandra Tello of Anzar High School’s MEChA club light candles during the club’s Dia de los Muertos festival Saturday.

The living honored those who have passed into another world
Saturday at Anzar High School as the school’s MEChA club celebrated
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The living honored those who have passed into another world Saturday at Anzar High School as the school’s MEChA club – Movimiento Estudantil Chicano de Aztlan – celebrated Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

The Anzar gym was decorated with candle-laden altars, and music, dancing and food were offered for the living and the dead.

The event has elements of a South American carnival as well as Aztec spirituality and paganism, said Anzar teacher Jaime Montoya, who helped organize the event.

“In Aztec thinking, they think dead people come to the altars, which have the food they love to eat, and they spend the entire day with families,” Montoya said.

Dia de los Muertos is an annual celebration unique to Mexican and Central American tradition that has combined elements of Christianity with indigenous Aztec traditions. It dates back more than 3,000 years when it was celebrated for the entire ninth month of the Aztec solar calendar, presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead,” who was believed to have died at birth.

The event is more spiritual than the American tradition of Halloween, which is superficial and doesn’t confront death, Montoya said.

“We conceptualize we are going to die, but (North American) society doesn’t think about it,” he said. “It’s an old tradition from the Aztecs. They were willing to confront the idea of death and make fun of it. That it’s a cycle of life and you have to face death to accept life. We’re so scared we don’t want to think about death.”

The banner for the event cryptically revealed, “This is the mystery of the illusion of life… The panic and satire Mexicans make about death, their own fears, and the inevitable end of the path.”

The event was also a fundraiser for the Anzar MEChA club.

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