Milford Spanish Students Visit DIA


Jacob Belliston

Picture of another offrenda dedicated to Chenie Fernandez (Photo courtesy of Jacob Belliston).

Emma Giese, Assistant Editor

As Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) passed, Milford High School Spanish students were given the amazing opportunity to take a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to explore more about the holiday and Spanish culture.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated on Nov. 1st and 2nd. It combines the ancient Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors with All Soul’s Day, which was brought by Spanish settlers to Mexico in the early 1500s. The first day celebrates the lost souls of children, while the second day is to celebrate the lost souls of adults.

Day of the Dead helps people remember the ones they’ve lost. Families make ofrendas where they create a table of different levels with offerings to give to the lost souls once they return home. Most ofrendas include pictures of lost loved ones, their favorite foods, candles and Marigold flowers to “light the way” back home.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as Mexican town, includes many aspects of Spanish culture for people to learn. The Day of the Dead exhibit is where the students spent most of their time exploring, but they were also allowed opportunities to learn about other aspects of Spanish speaking culture and eat at a Mexican restaurant.

Sophomore Alexandra Adam was one of the lucky students to attend this trip. Adam has taken Spanish classes for two years and thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about Spanish traditions, especially Day of the Dead.

Adam’s favorite part about the trip was exploring the foreign aspects of non-American life. “I liked seeing the different aspects of Mexican culture throughout Mexican Town specifically,” she said. Some of those aspects she was able to explore were language, clothing, food and passed down traditions.

Adams mentioned that she learned about the food in this culture. Because American food is a lot different from food in any other country, she was excited to be able to indulge in a new type of food for a day. “When we went to Mexican Town, I got to try candies and pastries that are a part of Mexican culture,” she said. For example, she tried a Mexican croissant and different types of chocolates. She then continued to talk about the difference in flavors between American and Mexican food. She said the food from Mexican Town “is much more full of flavor” than American food. She went on to explain how the food feels spicier. She used the word “impactful” to describe the pastry she tried and as for the chocolates, she described them as bitter compared to American chocolate.

Adam’s big takeaway from the DIA was being able to learn more about ofrendas and what they actually look like in Mexico and other cities around the world. The biggest thing she learned was how much skulls and marigolds play a role in Spanish culture during this holiday. “I learned about the different things you may see on ofrendas such as skulls and marigolds,” she said. Marigolds represent light to lead a path for the dead while they travel home.

Freshman Jacob Belliston has also taken Spanish classes for two years and was interested to learn more of Spanish and Mexican culture.

Belliston’s favorite part of the trip was the downtown area. “While visiting Mexican Town, I was able to learn much more about their culture, specifically the purpose of the ofrendas,” Belliston said. He mentioned how interesting it was to learn about ofrendas and their real meaning of caring for their families.

Belliston didn’t express great interest in the food they ate while in Mexican Town. “The food there was pretty good I would say,” he stated. He was more interested in the museum and the town itself.

Belliston was grateful to explore the museum with other students on their own for some time rather than being forced to learn about the same things. Both Adam and Belliston talked about how this was one of their favorite parts of the trip because they learned about many things they didn’t know before such as language, food, arts and clothing.

Belliston and Adam had a great time on this trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. They were both able to learn about new aspects of cultures they didn’t know about before.

The Milford students who were lucky enough to attend this opportunity learned something new, whether it was about Day of the Dead or anything they found interesting at the DIA. The trip was a success for Milford High School students.