UVU celebrates Día de Los Muertos

In the Multicultural Center a large mural was erected and a movie screening for Disney’s Coco was shown in honor of Día de Los Muertos. Photo by Ivette Pimentel.

UVU’s Women’s Success Center, Multicultural Student Council, and the Raíces Club collaborated to celebrate El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Two ofrendas (alters) were created: one at the multicultural student center and the other in the Women’s Success Center.

In the Multicultural Center a large mural was erected and a movie screening for Disney’s Coco was shown, with refreshments including  hot chocolate, sweet bread, and pan de muerto (bread of the dead). 

At the Women’s Success Center they also had an event the same day, they had the game Loteria (bingo) and coloring pages of sugar skulls and marigolds. 

“Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated Nov. 2. On this day, it is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit their living family members,” according to National Today. “Many people celebrate this day by visiting the graves of deceased loved ones and setting up altars with their favorite foods, drinks, and photos.”

“Dia de los Muertos is an important celebration to Mexico’s indigenous communities,” said an article in Spanish by Oscar Lopez in the New York Times. “It’s a mixed tradition between catholic and Mexican mysticism where they commemorate death with a memory that is worth more than life. It is their way to honor their loved ones.”

“Objects important to lost loved ones, such as favorites foods, drinks, mementos and pictures, are collected and incorporated into elaborate displays that include pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sugar skulls, candles, flowers, papel picado (paper cutouts) and other decorations,” according to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Ana María Enciso wrote an article on Be Latina about the history of Dia de los Muertos, “The Día de los Muertos has a history that goes back more than 3,000 years, and in its modern form is the result of the encounter between the Aztec culture and the Spaniards efforts to make Aztecs adopt Christian practices.”

One can begin celebrating Día de los Muertos by asking a friend or family member who already celebrates the holiday, claims Maria Enciso. Whether they are Mexican or not, try to understand what elements you can take to honor the loved ones you have lost. Día de los Muertos is sacred because of its history and religious context, and the way it brings people closer to those they can no longer see or touch.

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