Experiencing Dia de los Muertos

By Sam De Leon

The making of an altar for Dia de los Muertos is more than just an exercise in vibrant colors and elegant artwork. Making an altar for Dia de los Muertos is part of my culture. From October 31 through November 2, I get to remember family and friends who have passed on to the next life.

Dia de los Muertos is not a time to be sorrowful but rather to be cheerful. I remember gazing upon my school’s altar for Miguel Martinez (an older classmate who died). We placed his picture in the center of the altar surrounded by alluring flowers. I stared into his eyes and instead of tears trickling down the sides of my face I found myself smiling. The rest of the students and I looked at our finished work and shared an embrace of love and gratitude. Making an altar for Miguel Martinez not only reminded us of him but also reminded us to appreciate each other.

Afterwards we said a prayer for Miguel and all who have left us for the next life. I breathe heavily and steadily. I take a moment to reflect on my fallen brother and then see the face of God. I knew right then that it was his faith and the faith of all of us that assures me he’s standing at the right hand of God.

Dia de los Muertos is a part of my faith. It reminds me that after death there is life. Jesus said to several of his disciples that it was their faith that had saved them. It is through the faith of our friends and family that we too are saved and continue to remember our loved ones.


Sam De Leon is a senior at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, CA. Sam is interested in studying nursing in college in the coming years.


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