La Casa Holds Traditional D?-a de los Muertos Celebration

Last Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., La Casa Pan-Latina Americana hosted a party to celebrate D?-a de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday is celebrated throughout the world and among many different cultures. Although on this holiday the honored people are dead, it is considered to be more of a celebration of life, as friends and family spend time reminiscing, appreciating, telling stories and sharing old memories about the life of their loved ones who have passed.

The holiday begins on October 31 and ends on November 2. Traditionally, those who celebrate the Day of the Dead spend time not only visiting the graves of those who have passed, but decorating altars created inside their homes for their ancestors. It is not uncommon for people to place their loved ones’ favorite dishes or treats on the altar. Water and other drinks are also placed on the altar with the idea that the dead may be thirsty after their long journey back home. Because salt is considered to be the spice of life, this appears on many people’s altars too. People put much effort into making their altars look beautiful, especially by decorating them with candles, flowers and pictures of their ancestors. 

The time spent by family members decorating altars together is also a time in which they have the opportunity to share stories and their favorite memories about the lives of their ancestors.

“The oral tradition that comes from the stories that are passed down throughout the generations,” senior Jessica Aquino said of her favorite part of D?-a de los Muertos. “I love spending time decorating the altar with my mother and listening to her tell stories about my family members. I can’t wait to share the same stories with my children, and add on my own memories and experiences I had with my family members who have passed.”

For the event on Friday, Aquino helped make traditional sugar skulls that attendees decorated with different colored frosting. There was also an opportunity to make other arts and crafts, eat treats like homemade s’mores, cookies and homemade hot chocolate. Members of the La Casa house even created a beautiful altar, which was decorated with candles, flowers, water, bread, other food and pictures of loved ones. Those who made the event possible were successful at honoring tradition, while simultaneously creating a fun atmosphere for those who attended the event but who do not typically celebrate the Day of the Dead.

“[The day] is a way in which we are able to bring the holiday onto the Colgate campus in order for a variety of people, no matter their culture or religious affiliation, to participate and experience the tradition of D?-a de los Muertos,” senior Jennifer Rivera said.

Contact Caroline Weihs at [email protected].