An important component of learning a foreign language is to gain an understanding and appreciation for its culture. Recently, Washougal High School Spanish language students were introduced to the Mexican celebration of El Día de los Muertos or “The Day of the Dead,” a yearly experience provided by the Spanish teachers.
The celebration is a fusion of Catholic and indigenous traditions that has come to manifest itself differently in each region of Latin America. “The key is that it's a celebration of life: mostly of those who have gone before us,” explained Brian Eggleston, WHS Spanish Teacher. "Students learn about the different way a culture looks at death without the unnecessary dread or horror that we've seen in some other societies."
As a part of the celebration, students created actual sugar skulls. They combined sugar, meringue powder, and water together, and then with a mold, they made skulls that harden for decoration. “After learning about the holiday and surrounding customs in Mexico, the students will decorate them in class,” Eggleston said. “They always turn out beautiful. The best work goes on display in each Spanish classroom for others to admire.”
“Students become more invested in a culture when they can get involved with hands on activities such as this,” said Spanish teacher Rochelle Aiton.