The annual Dia de Los Muertos trip to Cheekwood Estate and Gardens was filled with more tacos, pan de muerto, arepas, and fun than ever before. Profé Anderson Barrera and Señora Lorraine Byerley took five students to this year’s event to learn about authentic Latinx culture and the history behind this sacred holiday.
There were many booths that included charged crystals all the way from the Amazon rainforests, handcrafted sunglasses from the villages of Columbia, and intricate dream catchers from the mountains of Peru that many visitors indulged in. Delicious foods from all over South and Central America could be found as well. Some students had handmade corn tacos stuffed with all kinds of delicious meats and fresh vegetables, while others partook in the experience of spicy chicken arepas from Venezuela. There were also many desserts such as churros and all kinds of pan de muerto, bread of the dead, that people give to their ancestors during Día de Los Muertos so they don't go hungry.
Ancient ruins were found sporadically throughout the park that students explored. They were filled with worn stairs, dense forests, and beautiful mountain views. One of the students, Maura Geuy said, “They were really cool. You could step on stairs that have been there for so long and that dead people walked on as well. I really felt my chakras align with them. I really enjoyed it!”
Students also participated in activities celebrating Día de Los Muertos. “We saw altars of schools around Tennessee who created them for loved ones and we heard authentic Latin music," said Byerley. "We also were able to see a Día de los Muertos parade as well as paint sugar skulls, make butterflies out of papel picado and colored skeleton masks. My favorite, however, was exploring all the handmade crafts created by local Latinos.” Others who went expressed their admiration for the trip and can’t wait to go again next year.