The Gustavian Weekly

Campus celebrates Dia de los Muertos

By Sophie Panetti Staff Writer | November 1, 2013 | News

The Organization for Latin American and Spanish Cultures (OLAS) serves campus by bringing students’ attention to the Latino and Spanish speaking communities and hosting activities that expose students to different cultures. This November, they are celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead by planning different events for students on campus.

Falling on Nov. 1 and 2, Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that honors the dead. One of the traditions of the holiday is the decoration of sugar skulls.

“The skulls are made from sugar, meringue powder, water and food coloring. They’re later put into a mold in the shape of a skull,” OLAS Co-President Senior Marisol Rojas said.

OLAS made over 200 skulls in anticipation of the holiday, inviting students to decorate them last Wednesday at the International Center. Various candies and colored icings were offered as decorations for the colorful skulls, each about the size of a grapefruit.

“Typically, people write the name of a loved one who’s passed away on the top of the skull,” Junior OLAS member Kelly Hastings said.

Known as All Saint’s Day, families visit cemeteries where loved ones are buried and decorate the gravesite with flowers, candles, pictures and favorite foods.

“In Mexico, people have a picnic dinner in the cemetery,” First-year OLAS member Valeria Diaz said. “There’s a special kind of bread that they make, too.”

The bread is called pan de muerto and is baked in the shape of a human being. The baker will often hide a plastic toy, usually a skeleton, in the bread as a token of good fortune to whomever bites into it.

Students will also have the opportunity to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with a special chapel service on Friday, Nov. 1

“The chapel ceremony will include traditional songs by Spanish Professor Ana Adams accompanied by Professor Roberto Dansie with his guitar. There will also be a moment of reflection and prayer by Chaplain Brian Konkol,”Spanish Professor Mayra Taylor said.

As an addition to the celebration, a guest speaker will present a talk discussing some of the most important aspects of Dia de los Muertos entitled, “A Celebration of Life.”

Spanish students have prepared altars and, afterwards, traditional foods will be served to those in attendence in observation of Dia de los Muertos.