Snow’s Latinos in Action (LIA) celebrated The Day of the Dead on campus on November 3rd. The group handmade a display and its decorations, and then showcased it in the GSC. Many of the decorations had specific meaning and the members of LIA were glad to share the display with fellow students.
“El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a Mexican and Mexican-American celebration of the memory of the deceased ancestors which occurs on November 1 and November 2,” explained a flyer the group made available.
The room in which the LIA’s display stood was darkly lit, with candles leading along a path ending at an altar. “The room is dark so that you can see the candles. They guide the spirits and invite them to come,” said LIA President, Crystal V. Pacheco. The spirits being invited are loved ones, ancestors, and those that have passed on, the group explains.
The altar at the center of the room held three levels, each one holding special items and certain meaning. The first level, or the bottom level, represented Earth and had food on it. The food included sugar skulls and pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, which is bread that looks like bones.
Brian Vega, the Vice President of LIA, explained, “You bring them their favorite food or drink. It’s showing them that they are still remembered.” Pacheco added to this saying, “you leave the food overnight. The next day, the flavor is gone from it. They do not eat it, but they take the flavor with them. You can taste it the next day and it has no taste.”
The second level of the display represents limbo, the in between. On this level, families would bring something that the deceased loved. “If they smoked, you’d leave a pack of cigarettes,” said Pacheco. The limbo level also would hold a picture of the departed, another sign of rememberance.
The third, and highest level was a symbol of heaven. Crosses and rosary bead are scattered on this level. This represents where God and the Saints dwell.
Despite the morbid sounding name, the Day of the Dead, the holiday is not seen as something sad or fearful. “It is a celebration, and a day for remembering those that passed on,” sad Pacheco. The holiday is something that brings people together to reminisce. Our Latinos in Action put together a display that held true to the traditions, hoping that it added a little more culture to Snow College.