Dia de Los Muertos venerates life

Mexican holiday transcends family, culture, religion


File Photo / The Advocate

Computer engineering major Ogheneyengbame Akpojiyoubui paints a paper maché skull for La Raza Club’s planned Day of the Dead event during its meeting on Oct. 16 2014.

By Magali Mercado, Staff Writer

La Raza Club embraces its culture for the Dia de los Muertos holiday, as club members got together Thursday to set up an altar in the Library to honor the dead.
Dia de los Muertos, which translates to Day of the Dead in Spanish, is observed Nov. 1 and 2. It is a holiday that is celebrated to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away.
La Raza Vice President Alejandro Gonzalez said, “Besides Mexico other South and Central American countries celebrate the holiday as well.”
The holiday brings a lot of cultural awareness, Gonzalez said, “Every year we make an altar for the holiday. It’s a matter of maintaining the tradition and cultural life. So we want to honor those who have passed away.”
This year the club wants to bring more awareness social justice issues that are currently happening.
Club President Maria Lara said, “I want to highlight people who have died from police brutality, people who have died crossing the border, people who have been racially profiled.”
The altar will bring awareness to those who have passed away due to those issues.
“You will see kids who were part of the shooting in Oregon, people part of the Black Lives Matter movement that were killed like Oscar Grant and people subject to violence in the transgender community. Recently two transgender men were killed and I really want to highlight that,” Lara said.
Lara said the Day of the Dead is a happy day and many people get that confused. It’s not bad because it celebrates the life of the people.
Apart from being about tradition and culture, this is also a very religious holiday. It is a part of the Catholic religion. In Mexico people go to the cemetery to pray and there is also a mass there as well, club participant Maria Camacho said.
“People take different kinds of food and flowers and decorate the altars of their loved ones, which is what we are doing here today. It is also important we put (up) a picture of the person who has passed away,” Camacho said.
The altar is located in one of the display cases in the Library here on campus. It is decorated with brightly colored flowers, sugar skulls and fruit.
There are also pictures of those who were affected by police brutality, acts of violence in the transgender community, victims of being racially profiled and people crossing the border.
The club will be making a bigger altar on Tuesday.