The Latinos United Now and Always (LUNA) club turned the COM building into a colorful Day of the Dead celebration, with music, decorations, and students dressed up.
Keith Acosta, student, explains the cultural significance of the holiday, and different parts of the celebration.
“Día de Los Muertos is a celebration of life, to honor those who have passed, whether they are friends or family,” Acosta said. “So, we just set all of these things up, like the candles and the food. Basically, you give [the dead] a passage back to the normal world, to our world.”
Surrounded by the bright colors and lively music, Miriam Jurado, student, draws attention for being dressed as Catrina, a symbol of the holiday.
“I am supposed to represent being dead,” Jurado said. “We dress like this so at night, when the dead come back, we are all equal, we are all the same. We all come together as one on [this] day and we enjoy [the dead’s] favorite foods, music and colors.”
The celebration included face painting, headband making and an altar set out for the dead. LUNA members handed out traditional food to students.
“There are many names for it, but we call it ‘pan de muerto’ which is Mexican sweet bread,” Acosta said. “You can buy it at any Mexican bakery and they sell it [for] really cheap and it’s really good.”
Students still celebrate the Day of the Dead at home, but the celebration in the United States looks different than the holiday in Mexico.
“Here in the United States we celebrate [the Day of the Dead],” Jurado said. “My family goes to mass and just remembers the ones that passed away. It’s all about family. It’s all about remembering our ancestors.”
With busy schedules, some students only have time to celebrate the holiday on campus.
“I didn’t do much this year,” Acosta said. “This is the most I can do, and worst-case scenario, I just set up a candle at my house and pray.”
For others, like Alexandra Mattsson, student, this event was a new, but welcome experience.
“I think it’s really cool,” Mattsson said. “It’s really awesome that they’re doing this. I probably would [go again next year].”
The celebration on campus brings nostalgia to students who grew up in Mexico and allows them to celebrate the holiday with other students.
Jurado said, “[All of my] family is down in Mexico, so we don’t really do Día de Los Muertos and that is why we wanted to incorporate that [on campus]. We know that there is a lot of Hispanic students here on campus [who] don’t really celebrate Día de Los Muertos, that’s why we do it here.”