Dia de los Muertos celebrated at University

“It’s celebrating a person’s life, even after death. In the United States it’s more taboo to talk about death because it’s so uncomfortable, but in Mexico and Central America it’s a big deal. People want to celebrate their loved ones’ lives,” Jessica Medrano ’17 said.

On Nov. 2, students from the University’s Latin@ Alliance for Community and Opportunity (LACOS) organization created a celebration for Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, in the Student Space of the Elaine Langone Center.

The group worked to incorporate many aspects of the holiday, to give students a chance to practice their own traditions or learn about a new culture.

“The Day of the Dead is celebrated in a lot of Latin American countries, it’s a huge festival for many Latin ethnicities, so we decided we wanted to bring it here to campus,” Cristal Hermosillo ’17 said.

With traditional music playing in the background, students and community members were brought together with LACOS over cultural activities and food.

“We have Abuelita Hot Chocolate, which is a Mexican hot chocolate,” Hermosillo said. “We have coloring, the calaveras or sugar skulls that are huge in this culture, and face painting.”

“We wanted to remind ourselves that we are honoring the dead; in the culture [face painting] is used to say: ‘We are bringing the dead back home. We look like you, you look like us. You are home,’” Hermosillo said.

The main aspect of the event was the altar covered with calaveras, food, flowers, photos, and other offerings. Students and community members were invited to place photos of their own late loved ones as well.

The purpose was “bringing the Bucknell community together and allowing students to place photos of their loved ones who have passed on,” LACOS president Jacqueline Galindo ’18 said. 

“We as a University are trying to increase our efforts in terms of diversity and inclusion, which means having events that are meaningful for a particular group of people or culture … where they can see that there is an opportunity on campus for them to actually celebrate some of their traditions and roots,” Diversity & Inclusion Fellow Carmen Henne-Ochoa said.

The event was made possible with the help of Henne-Ochoa and the It Starts With Me: Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion mini grant.

“When you have an event like this, it engenders an opportunity for folks to be curious about different traditions that are not their own, that creates an opportunity for connecting across differences,” Henne-Ochoa said.

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