Friday, November 10, 2017
Cristina Cabrera Jarro
Photography: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO | FC
MIAMI | A cowgirl, Little Red Riding Hood, an emoji, a “Hey Arnold” 90s cartoon fan, and a basketball player all gathered around a pumpkin on Halloween. They could have carved and painted a fanged smile into the orange cultivar of a squash plant, or perhaps the silhouette of a witch, a ghost, or even Frankenstein’s monster.
These masqueraders, however, did not carve the usual spookiness associated with Halloween into their pumpkin. Instead, they painted over the orange with the light blue hues of the sky, added the sun, a few clouds, and the Earth. At the center, they carved three crosses.
And then they added glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.
The artists were students at St. Michael the Archangel School, and their Christian-motif designs were created for the second annual Light of the World Pumpkin Carving and Decorating Contest. The schoolwide challenge, which ran through November 1, encouraged creativity in decorating pumpkins with Gospel motifs, Christian phrases or Bible verses, and religious symbols.
The friendly competition took place among classes, and was also open to individual students and families.
“We were inspired by the light of the world because Jesus is the light of the world,” said eighth-grader Alexandra Garcia as she dabbed glitter onto the sun of her group’s pumpkin.
Pumpkins were decorated with crosses of various sizes, each painted in different colors; some even bedazzled with craft jewels and rhinestones. Hearts were also a popular motif, either carved or painted on, as well as images of Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Family.
“Christian symbols are intrinsic to our faith, as they remind us of the eternal truths and promises of God,” said Alfonso Balmaceda, coordinator of religious education at St. Michael.
For Balmaceda and the school’s staff, the contest is a means of adding Christian light to a festivity that is often marketed and macabre.
“It is our hope that by engaging in this activity of carving and decorating these pumpkins with Christian symbols, it may better help our children and families to direct the meaning and tone of these couple of days towards the wholesomeness and beauty of our Catholic faith,” he said.
He also pointed out that the feast of All Saints Day, the day after Halloween, falls right in the middle of a transitioning season, adding an extra spark of light to the darkening days of fall.
“It reminds us that with Christ, light has come into the world and all of us are invited to shine with his light,” Balmaceda said.
And the winners were...
More than 75 pumpkins were submitted to the St. Michael School contest. Here are the winners in each category:
- Class entry: Seven pumpkins depicting the seven sacraments submitted by Maria Rocheleau and Nicole Rodriguez’s fifth grade class.
- Individual entry: Eighth-grader Mariela Cespedes, with a motif of the sky with crosses and stars.
- Family entry: The Giron and Family pumpkin, painted with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.