St. Joseph High School Spanish teacher Christen Reyes had her students explore Mexican culture Oct. 31-Nov. 2 by having them commemorate the Day of the Dead.

Similar to the Catholic church’s All Souls Day when the dead are honored, the people of Mexico believe that heaven opens on those days and souls of the dead return to Earth.

Relatives offer food, drink and even toys on altars called ofrendas and the living and the dead are thought to share meals together.

"The Spanish classes created an ofrenda or altar and placed it in one of the hallways," school officials said. "It was decorated with paper marigolds known as cempasuchil which are believed to lead spirits from the cemetery back to the family home."

Students also placed photographs, religious symbols and skulls called calaveras, which represent the cyclicality of life and one student even made a special bread known as Pan de Muerto that’s often decorated with white frosting to symbolize the image of twisted bones.

"These days were all about respecting and memorializing the importance of lost loved ones in our lives," Reyes said.