Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a joyous time to remember those who have passed away. In Mexico, ancient Aztec traditions were combined with Christianity during the Spanish conquest. As a result, each year families construct colorful altars or ofrendas in their homes that essentially welcome the spirit of their loved ones on November 1st and 2nd.
Grade 1 students experienced traditions of giving from countries around the world on Wednesday, December 21.
The class took a field trip to the Wintergarden at PPG Place downtown in the morning to see the annual Spirits of Giving Around the World and gingerbread house exhibits. The children celebrated Greece with Greek food, music, and dance. Upon returning to school, they also walked around the Academy to serenade other students, faculty, and staff for gold coins, just like children in Greek in villages do.
After lunch, St. Nicholas Greek dancers came to the Academy to teach students numerous Greek dances for festive occasions. The troupe performed a few different dances before teaching them a kalamatiano, which is danced in all areas of Greece, the Chiotiko Sirto, from the island of Chios, and the tsamiko, which is from Northern Greece.
Grade 1 has been learning about houses around the world and how different cultures and people use various resources in their areas to build houses. There was a strong focus on clothing and how climate affects how houses are built as well as what we wear. Students then “traveled” around the world virtually via Google to visit different countries and learn more about each country’s traditions.