Dia de los muertos celebration nears

La Raza Club members share cultural traditions

By Mayra Garcia, Staff Illustrator

Gathered in the Liberal Arts Building on Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m., La Raza Club members shared thoughts and ideas for their upcoming Day of the Dead event.

Day of the Dead, most commonly known as “Dia De los Muertos,” is a Mexican holiday of remembrance and prayers to the deceased.

Jeannette Martinez, Latin American studies major and president of La Raza, said they plan to set up an altar inside the Library to honor the dead. Martinez said a display case has also been set aside for added decorations and will remain on display until Nov. 4.

Aside from the planned altar, Maria Lara, a political science major and La Raza Inter-Club Council representative, said La Raza will have a screening event titled “Feeding our Ancestors,” on Tuesday in LA-26, a film to further educate people about the relevance of cultural traditions.

Martinez said educating people about the culture is important. She said there are plenty who seem to have lost their culture and put aside their traditions.

“It is important to continue cultural practices in order to pass down the beauty of these traditions,” she said.

Hopeful to touch the hearts of some and bring engagement, La Raza studies professor Edgar Mojica said that sometime during the screening event, students, staff and La Raza members will all be given the opportunity to recite poems.

Lara said there is also contemplation of a “Best Mole” contest. Students and staff who sign up will be required to bring their own mole, a traditional Mexican dish that consists of many ingredients served with chicken, to be judged by La Raza members.

Alejandro Gonzalez, history major and vice president of the club, said the contest will serve to get people together and that anyone is welcome to come eat some mole, provided there is enough for all.

In their last meeting, several La Raza members, along with help from some Puente Club members, were seen working on clay figures and “skulls made out of paper mache,” Martinez said.

Re-using materials and skulls from last year, the group has a total of about 100.

ICC representative Lara said the painted skulls, which root to traditions of indigenous people, will beautify the altar once it is set up.

“This is one of the few customs that has been fortunate enough to stick around,” she said.

Martinez said it seems like La Raza has more fire this semester.

She said the unity, energy and consistency of the club this semester is a result of schedules meeting up, and said she hopes to see more involvement of La Raza as opposed to last year.

Being part of a club not only allows one to participate but also to experience and learn about the culture, computer engineering major Ogheneyengbame Akpojiyovbi said.

A new member of La Raza, Akpojiyovbi said, “(The club) leaves me with a good mindset of family appreciation.”

There is a lot that you can learn from being part of a club, Max Rivera, physics major and La Raza’s newly positioned treasurer, said. Rivera said he looks forward to teaching and the culture.

Future meetings will be held in LA-26.