LACOS and Spanish department celebrate el Día de los Muertos

Delaney Worth, Staff Writer

LACOS—the Latinx Alliance for Community and Opportunity—held a dinner event Nov. 1 to commemorate the celebration of Día de Los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” Originating in Mexico and widely celebrated today in most of Latin America and global latino communities, the holiday celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed, often with lively parties and a plethora of traditional food and drinks.

The most marked symbols of “Día de Los Muertos” are the skull and skeleton: calaveras and calacas. These bony figures take many forms during the holiday—sugar skulls are common, as well as pottery, dolls, and face paintings.

Held in the student space of the Langone Center, LACOS’s celebration of Día de los Muertos saw upwards of 30 people filtering in and out of the event, including a significant number of children and parents. The face-painting station was the most popular stop, where students and children alike lined up to have their faces half-painted as skulls. The “half skull” rendition is meant to represent the fluidity of life and death in the life cycle—the idea that humans are universally skeletons underneath and will be revealed as such when death comes.

A brightly colored altar stood in the back of the room, showcasing a multitude of calaveras, as well as a full-length calacas in royal purple garb. There were also various gifts and offerings to the family members and loved ones being honored that evening. These sentimental presents were placed on the altar throughout the evening.

Away from this centerpiece, attendees chatted amicably, some in bright dresses, all partaking in the cultural treats while enjoying the music and good company. One popular dish was “Pan de Muerto,” or “Bread of the Dead,”—a moist, delicious pastry with hints of orange and cinnamon, accompanied by small cups of subtly spicy Mexican hot chocolate.

Members of LACOS were not the only ones to attend the celebration. Various groups wandered in and out of the event space to enjoy the food, as well as place photographs and offerings of their own loved ones onto the altar.

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