Celebrating Día de los Muertos


Carlos Garcia

Photo contributed of Dia de los Muertos event on Oct. 31.

Angie Saavedra, Reporter

  Día de los Muertos is a two day holiday that reunites the living with the dead and brings a joyous atmosphere to what may be a trying time. Día de los Muertos, meaning Day of the Dead, is a traditionally Latin and Hispanic holiday in which families are brought together to create offerings, which they call ofrendas, to honor the loved ones they’ve lost. These altars are decorated with bright multi-colored marigold flowers, photos of fallen ancestors, and the favorite foods and drinks of the ones who are being honored.  

  The ofrendas are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead. The departed souls hear their prayers, smell their food, and awake to join in on the celebrations. 

  Día de los Muertos is about taking the tragedy of death and in turn making it a celebration of life. The Department of Modern Languages and Literature chair Dustin Knepp took the opportunity to host a Día de los Muertos event starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31. The event was located on red brick road between Dorothy Donahoe Hall and the Education building.  

  This event was open to all students, staff, and faculty, and provided Hispanic and Latinx students the opportunity to educate others about the importance of the Day of the Dead to Hispanic culture, and to encourage everyone to join the gathering in tribute to their fallen loved ones. 

  “As I was walking to class I noticed this bright colorful ofrenda surrounded by marigold flowers,” said criminal justice major Cassandra Flores. 

  According to Flores, when she was a young child her grandmother told her that marigolds are believed to be the pathways that help guide spirits to their ofrendas with their vibrant colors and scents. 

  “The presentation of the ofrenda really hit home for me. It reminded me of the one we have back at home for our lost loved ones” said Flores. 

Photo contributed of Dia de los Muertos event on Oct. 31.

  Biology major David Romero said, “The calaveras and the food were my favorite part of the ofrenda that they had out in front of the DDH.”  

  Calaveras are decorative skulls that are made by the loved ones of those who are being celebrated. The ones that were displayed in the ofrenda for Día de los Muertos were made out of sugar. Tamales, milk, and fruit were also put out on the ofrenda. 

  “It was beautiful. It’s inspiring to see that CSUB is sharing the Hispanic culture here on campus,” said Romero.  

  “Hispanic culture is everything,” said Edgar Chavez in addition to Romero’s statement. 

  This holiday is all about souls coming back home to feast with their families at a time when it is believed that the spirit world and the real world collide. Día de los Muertos expresses a happy and colorful festivity of death that takes a lively and friendly expression. It is not a place for sorrow or weeping. It is a place for families to keep their loved ones’ spirits alive forever.