Friday Nov. 1, Salt Lake community College’s students and staff participated in several activities including skull-decorating, face-painting, flower-making and were able to learn more about the diverse history of Dia de los Muertos.
Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a popular holiday that celebrates the lives of those who have passed on. Cultural staples like Pan de Muerto or bread of the dead, hot chocolate and activities were enjoyed during the Day of the Dead celebration at SLCC.
“Dia de los Muertos honors those who have died and been dear to us in our lives. This celebrates what they’ve left behind for us,” says Ana Archuleta, active member of Multicultural Initiatives.
The belief is that those who have passed on leave behind their values and morals and continue to watch out for their friends and family. Dia de los Muertos celebrates these souls visiting on the day of the celebration.
Angela M. Fanjul, alumna of SLCC, spoke on the history of Dia de los Muertos and its cultural practice in Mexico and the United States.
Dia de los Muertos is the first day of November and the Day of all Saints is celebrated Nov. 2. The culture of celebrating life started with the Aztec’s and Mayan’s and those traditions were melded in with the Roman Catholic Church.
Students who were part of the event made “nichos” that were placed around the Student Event Center for everyone to look at. Nicho’s are small boxes where memories and artifacts are placed to remind us of the role that person had in our lives.
“Many people put pictures, food, or objects that signify who that person was,” says Mequette Sorensen, SLCC professor in social work.
Traditional dances were performed before the activities and afterwards everyone was encouraged to decorate sugar skulls, get their faces painted and participate in the other various activities.