Un esqueleto sale de su tumba…
You might have heard this line in the mouth of your child learning Spanish or celebrating El Día de los Muertos, the Hispanic version of Halloween. The song goes like this: Cuando el reloj marca la una (When the clock strikes one) / un esqueleto sale de su tumba (one skeleton comes out of his grave) / Cuando el reloj marca las dos (When the clock strikes two) / dos esqueletos comen arroz (two skeletons eat rice). And the well-known chorus of the song goes: “tumba, tumba, tumbaba / tumba, tumba, tumbaba” (you have to imagine the music to get the effect).
Well, let me tell you that the skeletons came out of their graves this year for Halloween, thanks to our Spanish-speaking staff. Led by Gyandev Kaur (who your kids may also call Sammy), Ananda Kaur, Ardass Kaur and Dhyan Kaur handed out, to the entire school, a week before Halloween, copies of skulls to colour and decorate. Then, they collected them and built a beautiful altar that connected us not only more closely to those who passed away, but also to the beauty of our multicultural community.
During the course of one week, we got to experience the Indian celebration of Bandi Chor Diwas and Diwali, Halloween and El día de los muertos. However, it was not a patchwork of parties, but rather a very consistent process of genuinely acknowledging the various cultures and traditions living at the school and forming parts of our identity. Jugat Guru Singh, the American Director of our school, lit a candle with our Indian Principal of Academics, Kirandeep Kaur, for Bandi Chor Diwas and Diwali. Gyandev, who is Mexican, helped Manit Power Singh, one of the American juniors, to colour his skull. The Indian art teachers helped me to create my Halloween costume.
Through celebration, we build our understanding of the fact that the other person is us and that there is no differentiation where love is.
Here are some pictures of our traditional Dia De Los Muertos altar: