Campus Honors El Día de Los Muertos

November 17, 2015

By Emily Lapinski

The university community continues to honor Hispanic Heritage Month with the el Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebration, which took place Monday, Nov. 2, just outside of the Noonan Reading Room.

“El Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead is a celebration of life,” said theology professor Anthony Suárez-Abraham. “Although this tradition may appear to be on the macabre side with the presence of skulls, skeletons, candles, graves and images of deceased loved ones, the sacred holiday marks the core claim of the Abrahamic traditions that life, not death, has the final word.”

One of the most important traditions of this sacred holiday is the construction of altars called ofrendas or offerings. This year students from the Our Lady of Guadalupe course along with OLA and University Ministry were in charge of constructing the ofrenda for the wider university community.

“I contributed by helping decide color choices for the tablecloths and fabric as well the placement of our Lady and the crucifix of Jesus Christ,” said junior Carlos Bautista. “Both of my parents are from Mexico so this holiday is very special for me. I wish for everyone to come and see the ofrenda to learn about our culture, language and traditions.” 

The theme for this year’s offering was inspired by the words of Pope Francis’ new encyclical which asks us as humans to reflect on the fragility of the environment and the interconnectedness of life.

Sophomore Alondra Cardenas said, “I was part of the planning team that helped incorporate the words of Pope Francis into the ofrenda. Growing up in Mexico, I was always curious about the tradition of setting up the ofrendas to celebrate the dead. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be an active participant in recreating these beautiful altars on campus. This celebration represents the university’s mission of bringing everyone together and building a loving and honest community and allows us to include those that are no longer with us.”

The ofrenda will be up for the remainder of the month and everyone in the Dominican community is welcome to come and enjoy this beautiful display of culture.