City pays homage to dead

In honor of Dia De Los Muertos, City’s Spanish Club hosted several activities around campus from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2. They built an altar and hosted a comedy show in hopes of educating fellow students on the holiday.

Club members assembled a rather large altar in the middle of Gorton Quad, complete with mock coffins, crosses, flowers and streamers meant specifically for the holiday. Following tradition, incense, candles, Saints and bread among other items were placed on the altar along with pictures of late loved ones.

All of these are part of the seven levels that symbolize what the South American cultures believe lead to the place of the dead, Mictlan.

“[In South America] everyone goes out to the graveyards and celebrate,” Beto Vasquez, president of the Spanish Club, said. “It’s a jovial experience and very unlike Halloween here.”

In fact, as opposed to the somber and eerie feeling that most Americans associate with cemeteries on Halloween night, those in Mexico see it as a time of celebration and festivities.

Families go to cemeteries together and set up altars at the tombstones of their loved ones. They also bring the dead persons their favorite food while they were alive, since they believe that the souls of the dead have returned and wish to share that with them.
It is only after they believe that the souls of the dead have left that the food and drinks are consumed. It is usually shared with neighbors and friends as gifts.

“The Aztecs believe that the souls come down to eat and enjoy,” Evelia Talamantes, Spanish Club advisor, said. “It is a day to celebrate, to be together.”

“Ten years ago I was the only one setting up altars on campus,” Rosalinda Sandoval of the language department, said as she looked around at the festivities. “Now you can find altars everywhere.”

During Associated Students Halloween Bash on Oct. 29, the Spanish Club hosted a fun and educational skull-making workshop. Students and non-students alike were welcome to paint on the plaster skulls and either take it home or leave it for the Spanish Club to sell at a future event. The skulls ranged in price anywhere from $3 to $5.

Since Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov. 2, Spanish Club, along with World Cultures, held a show on that day based on the life of Frida Kahlo and her appreciation for the holiday.

Actress Ursula Tania Cabeza de Vaca and guitarist Agustin Sanchez performed a comedic and didactic show. Vaca’s acting was accompanied by Sanchez’s traditional Spanish songs such as, “La Llorona,” “Cielito Lindo” and “La Bruja.” They performed for a very diverse crowd, both Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking.

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City pays homage to dead