On Oct. 26 the Art and Learning Center (ALC), the Coalition of Latino Student Organizations (CLSO) and the office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) put together a celebration of the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos.
The event had donut holes and chips and salsa for the dozens of students who attended, and an opportunity to create various crafts, all with the goal of educating on the holiday.
“To me (Day of the Dead) is more of a tradition thing, and (I enjoy) celebrating part of our culture here on this campus,” Jessica Escalante, Vice President of the CLSO said. “More generally, Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is different from Halloween because it’s based on celebrating the dead – giving them a passage to keep remembering their favorite things.”
The event was encouraged by the school and mostly created by students who hold this holiday as a part of their culture.
“I’m the graduate coordinator for the ALC,” Jessica Roake said. “So part of my job is to come up with workshop ideas, we do a Wednesday workshop series once a month… My family is in New Mexico and Day of the Dead is a huge holiday there so I really enjoyed celebrating it but I wanted to make sure I reached out to MICA and the Latinx student association to make sure it was a true celebration, authentic and not appropriation. The students came on board and they were incredibly enthusiastic, they put in so much work, they were down here making sugar skulls the other day throughout their entire day and really threw themselves into it.”
The students creating this event also put together an informative slide show about the holiday. It started with a game of Myth or Fact where they presented a statement and asked the people in attendance if it was a myth or fact. They went on to explain the various countries like Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and more that celebrate the Day of the Dead and how it is celebrated differently from place to place
They also explained the history behind the holiday and the various symbols involved with it.
“We wanted this event so we could educate on where the symbols come from,” Escalante said. “Things like the sugar skull or flower crowns have been very popular recently so we wanted to discuss where those come from, what their meaning is and also explain how they trace back thousands of years not just recently.”
Day of the Dead will take place on Nov. 1 this year.
“Halloween is coming up and a lot of people dress up with sugar skull makeup,” Escalante said. “So we wanted to show that, yeah, that’s okay, as long as you know where it comes from and you’re appreciating it instead of just wearing it as a trend.”