Celebrating Halloween for people of all ages is extremely fulfilling and very fun! We get to dress up and show our Halloween spirit through spooky makeup or dress up as characters from our favorite shows. Towards the end of October and beginning of November, the days are celebrated in different ways in various cultures. We, at Pragnya, had the honor of celebrating El Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead which is often commemorated by Latin Americans as a day to honor deceased loved ones and celebrate their lives.
At this Pragnya event, we decided to come together as a community and celebrate both of these festivities that were occurring. Everyone got a chance to dress up as their new favorite obsession for this year while also learning about what significance El Día de los Muertos is all about as a celebration. Putting on a costume was not singled out to only younger age groups as many adults came with creative costumes as well. Our community got to learn about The Day of the Dead culture through our Spanish Liaison at PRAGNYA, Ms. Viviana and many of our other Hispanic friends.
We celebrated through lots of dancing and singing led by the Teatro Familia Aztlan and our Spanish friends got to teach us and many people the steps to some of their cultural dances. We got to experience how the Ofrenda (offering) is made at the Altares (altar) and how to honor our ancestors. And of course, for everyone in the neuro-minority, we had planned enjoyable Halloween stations to get in the spirit, make and take a wonderful souvenir back home. There were many different activities for all age groups to enjoy. Some of our activities for the stations included decorating and coloring sugar skulls and pumpkins, writing about their favorite part of Halloween/ Dia De Los Muertos and this event, coloring fun Halloween signs, painting mason jars however they wanted (which allowed for creative expression), and also decorating cookies with lively colored frosting and icing. As the festivities continued, it only got more fun! We had a Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos parade, showing off everyone’s costumes; we all sang and danced together to the Un Poco Loco song from the movie, Coco, that our neurominority friends had practiced the choreography for following our Allies Neha and Shreya. Everyone had a blast neurominority, neuromajority - it did not matter because everyone was celebrating and everyone was dancing to the music.
This event really connected our neurominority friends into having important social interactions and meeting new people. Our community helped our neurominority feel welcome and accepted. Everyone got to explore and be creative while also being open to learn many new ideas about different cultures.