Eastern Michigan University's Latinx Student Association celebrates Dia de los Muertos

The Latinx Student Association has been preparing for the Dia de los Muertos celebration all month. 

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in many different ways across Hispanic culture, but the underlying theme is to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have died. Having an altar is a Dia de los Muertos tradition that is shared across many Spanish countries. The altar is a symbol of respect for loved ones.

“I’m here for fun,” said freshman Kenzie Wright. Wright said she came with her roommate, who was there with the Edge program, but stayed for the coloring and food.

LSA had a table set up for arts and crafts where students could color and paint their own pictures of sugar skulls, as well as get sugar skull face paint.  LSA was also raffling off three authentic sugar skulls during the event.  

Festive music and chatter filled the room while students were waiting in a line for food that wrapped around the entire room. LSA had provided taquitos (both a meat and vegetarian option), chips and salsa, rice and conchas. 

Tatiana Rodriguez, a senior in her fifth year participating in LSA, gave a presentation about Dia de los Muertos’ history and traditions. The presentation would also discuss traditions and beliefs about death in other cultures around the world.

Rodriguez said Dia de los Muertos can be traced back 3,000 years and was celebrated at the end of summer until the dawn of Christianity when the celebration would be moved to All Saints Day. 

LSA had their own altar set up at the front of the room with several loved ones represented with candles, crosses, sugar skulls, food and other colorful and festive decorations surrounding their pictures. The altar also featured a bowl of salt, which represents the continuance of life and a single record titled, “Lo Mucho Que te Quiero” by Rene and Rene.

Rodriguez explained food offerings are a common feature on altars. Some traditional food found on altars includes fruits, vegetables and pan de muerto (bread of the dead). However, any of the lost loved one’s favorite foods can also be found.

“If your grandma loved Hot Cheetos, you put Hot Cheetos on that table,” Rodriguez said. She went on to say that alcohol could also be found on altars.

Native American, South Korean, French, Italian, Swiss, Greek and South African traditions about death were discussed near the end of the presentation.

“It’s my favorite holiday,” said senior and LSA president Maria Pomo.

Another member of LSA, Dominique Hernandez said the event is to celebrate and teach the campus about Latino and Hispanic culture.

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