Día de los Muertos event celebrates lives of the dead

Yvette Ordonez

Orange, yellow, red, purple.

The colors that are associated with life and joy. But in Mexican tradtition, they are colors used to celebrate the dead. Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated every year on the first and second of November. It is a day made to celebrate, instead of mourn, the lives of passed loved ones. Three students took charge in making the event of celebration achievable on campus. To bring awareness and well, joy.

“It’s a tradition in Mexico and other latin countries every year where people gather and celebrate the spirits of their loved ones with food music, and toys, flowers. We had a presentation about Día de los Muertos, followed by a baile folklorico, which are traditional dances in Mexico,” Yesenia Alvarez, early childhood education junior, said.

Alvarez helped make the event a possibility. The celebration took place in Clark Student Center Nov. 2. Her and her team donated everything that was needed for the event.

“Bilingual Education Student Organization was in charge and Zavala International Dance group participated as well as UPB with face painting,” Alvarez said. “Me, Brenda Sigala, and Ana Aguilar are the officers for the organization. And other members of the group put their part in to organize the event.”

The event was free for the some 100 who attended.

“Friends and family, as well as students that live on campus went. The turn out was great. We didn’t expect as much people compared to last year, but we had many people show up,” Alvarez said.

Brenda Sigala, bilingual education junior, has been a part of BESO for two years now. She joined BESO because of the involvement it has with the hispanic community and it represents bilingual education.

“It was all donated by BESO students, local business, and Zavala Hispanic Culture initiative,” Sigala said.

Traditional Mexican food made from scratch was given out to celebrate the day for anyone.

“We had pan dulce, enchiladas, rice, and beans as traditional Mexican dinner. Everything was gone real quick since we had lots of people,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said there was face painting of catrina, a popular way of decorating the face in honor of the celebrated life of those loved ones they’ve lost.

“Traditionally, they make altars and decorate them with flowers food photos of their loved ones,” Alvarez said.

Also playing a part in making this event possible was executive officer for BESO, Ana Aguilar, bilingual education sophomore.

“We set up the altar last week, with pictures, flowers, calaveras, which are skeletons, along with other decorations,” Aguilar said. “It was held by BESO. This year I helped by serving food made by Yesenia Zavala’s mom and we also handed out bread donated by Los Cuates. We also presented a PowerPoint of what los Día de los Muertos was.”

There was dancing by Zavala International Dance, with 20 dancers in bright colors bringing the festivities to life, a highlight of the event.

“We had an amazing crowd all in honor to celebrate our beloved ones who have passed away. As well as celebrating a Mexican tradition embedded in our roots,” Aguilar said.

Sigala also donated her time for this free event. Her husband, co-owner of Los Cuates, donated the bread.

“I was all over the place. I helped decorate and set up the altar, and the atrium. I was part in donating the pan de muerto y pan dulce. And during the event I was helping serve food,” Sigala said.

The students served around 100 to 120 plates of enchiladas, including roughly 50 non-Hispanics.

“The purpose of the event was to bring the community together to celebrate this awesome tradition,” Sigala said.

Sigala said it was a way to put the Hispanic tradition out there and so people can understand the cultural aspect of it.