Multicultural Center Celebrates Day of the Dead
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 to remember family and close friends who have passed away.
During Day of the Dead, families put up altars and decorate them with sugar skulls, marigolds, pictures and other items that reflect the personality and hobbies of the person it represents. Gustavo Villalobos, junior at UMD and member of the Latino/Chicano Student Association, remembers how his family celebrates:
“In the region where I came from, we tend to cook the meals that were the favorite meals of the people who passed away,” Villalobos said.
According to Villalobos, the first day is a time to commemorate older people who have died and the second day is for children. At night, the spirit of the deceased loved ones eat the food that is left at their altar.
Some who celebrate Day of the Dead also participate in Novena, which is nine days of prayer to remember deceased family members.
Villalobos said that the holiday is more for commemorating than it is mourning
“To us, it’s not a sad thing,” Villalobos said. “It’s more to remember their life and the joy of having that person in our lives.”
Villalobos comes from a large, traditional family that remembers their grandparents and great grandparents during Day of the Dead, but he personally likes to remember his father who passed away four years ago.
The Latino/Chicano Student Association celebrates Day of the Dead by creating altars that remember important people for Latin culture. They also host a Night of the Dead dance, where students get their faces painted to look like skulls and celebrate the holiday.
To check out the Day of the Dead altars, visit the Multicultural Center over the next week.
Graphic by Will Madison