Dia de los Muertos

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Day of the Dead

William James
The Broadside

Music, festive dress, food and offerings to the dead—these are all characteristics of “Dia de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead.”

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The holiday marks a time to remember loved ones and family members that have died.

Central Oregon Community College’s Latino Club will be holding events on Nov. 2 in the Multicultural Center including the construction of two altars traditionally decorated with “ofrendas,” or offerings.

There will be one in the Multicultural Center and one near Wille Hall.

Typically the ofrendas are food, photographs, toys and music that were favorites of the departed.

“At midnight, the spirits of your loved ones come to the altar and enjoy everything you left there,” says Latino Club Member Daniela Trevino.

A Variety of Rituals

Traditionally, on Nov. 1 the souls of the children are remembered and honored by etching special designs in the altars, as well as using the color
white for flowers and candles and other decorations.

On Nov. 2, the souls of adults and the elderly are remembered in a variety of rituals according to the traditions of the different countries in Europe, North America and South America.

“What I’m most excited about is introducing students to different activities that celebrate other cultures”, says Tracey Glover, the Sodexo catering manager. “What the Latino Club is doing is a great way to learn and have fun.”

From Bread to Skulls

The club also plans to hold trivia games and bake “pan de muertos,” or bread of the dead, to offer to fellow students during the event. Pan de muertos is a sweetened, soft, decorated bread. The Latino Club is still looking for a skilled baker to help them make sugar skulls, which are confectionery treats traditionally decorated with bright colors.

The Latino Club will be continuing to work on decorating catrina figurines, stylized skeleton figures based off of the artwork of Printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada and “calavera,” or skull masks. The skull masks represent a spiritual significance during the holiday.

“The masks and costumes are meant to be worn to ward off evil spirits,” said Trevino. “And, also, they are meant to signify enjoying the company of your departed friends or family.”

The events and activities celebrating Dia de los Muertos are to be held at the Multicultural Center tenatively from 12 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

William James can be reached at wjames@cocc.edu.

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