Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebration!

Every year MEChA and the Multicultural Student Union team up to bring a Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead to campus.  A day to celebrate the dead. Celebrate death? Yeah. In Mexico it is believed that the dead don’t really leave this world but stick around as spirits and either bring you good luck if you were nice to them, or bad luck if you weren’t so nice.

So in Mexican culture to celebrate lost loved ones, an altar is made and left up for the first week of November, an offering is presented on the first day with the favorite food of the loved ones as well as pictures and possessions that had a strong connection to them. After stories of remembrance and good times are told among friends and family the time for celebration happens. This means a night full of dancing and face painting. The face painting is typically shown to look like a skull on your face, a type of way to show you mock death or are not afraid of it, but actually accept it as a natural part of life…deep stuff.

day of the dead dancers
a classical dance said to be performed in the lower parts of Mexico decades and even centuries ago.

So the MSU and MEChA event is kind of like the traditional celebration of Dia de los M

Me taking a photo with some of the dancers
Me taking a photo with some of the dancers

uertos/ Day of the Dead except it is not as big. The school event was on November 1st and involved 2 different parts one part started at 11 in the morning. This early part was free pan dulce (sugar bread) and hot cocoa, and also some free face painting if you wanted. A lot of students really wanted to show their cultural side and decided to get a full face paint, some looking like Gene Simmons of KISS, or some mimes, but some students only wanted little flower designs to show support.

During the night was the second part of the event. This was the entertainment part of the event that introduced the ballet folklorico (folkloric ballet) dancers. This group is from Salem and has dancers ranging from 4 and 5 year olds, to 18 and 19 year olds. This group performed 3 very nice dances after giving a short little history about each before taking a break and doing the second part of their performance.

While we waited one of the head dancers tried to kill some time by answering questions and people shouted them out to her. “Why do you dance?” I asked loudly, starting it off. “Well, that’s a good question, ha ha Well, It’s in my heart. I don’t know how to explain it… It is just something that I am really passionate about and will continue to do until I can’t anymore.” She received an applause before answering a few more questions. After that she introduced her dancers for the second part of their dance routine which was really fun to watch.

Overall it was a good event. I am glad I went this year and I hope to see it next year. It is a great cultural event that I hope everyone will get to see it sometime in their lifetime or their time here at WOU.

By Kevin Gutierrez

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