By Nghi Nguyen
Next Monday to next Friday, LASO (Latin American Student Organization) is celebrating Día De Los Muertos by setting up an altar at the library. LASO is also hosting a movie night featuring the movie Coco next Friday at the library.
LASO Vice President Janelle Perez comments, “the event at school is bringing culture to campus. It’s a good way to represent Mexican culture. It’s a form of respect and a form of keeping the tradition alive.”
The event provides a piece of what Día De Los Muertos is to the school. Students are able to experience and learn about the holiday and a part of Mexican culture through LASO’s event.
“Día De Los Muertos is a holiday that is celebrated in Mexico which usually honors family members who are no longer with you. The whole purpose of it is to honor their presence and to remember them. To keep their spirit alive,” adds LASO President Samantha Alderete.
Various decorations can be seen in LASO’s altar such as marigolds which help guide the spirits of the deceased loved ones home. Members of LASO are adding photos of relatives that have passed to the altar. Everyone can contribute to the altar by providing a picture of a deceased loved one to LASO. Pictures will be put into frames made of sugar skulls. Significant items will be placed on the altar to represent those who have passed. The altar will be in the library until next Friday.
“To me, I think it’s important to remember those who have passed away especially family members. In my culture, it’s important to remember them. I feel like I have relatives that passed away, and it helps too, especially if there’s recent ones. It helps with the coping process. Instead of feeling sad on Día De Los Muertos, I feel happy. We remember them,” adds Samantha.
Día De Los Muertos has origins from Mesoamerican and Aztec culture. The Aztecs honored their ancestors in a month-long celebration in August where they gave offerings to the deceased and paid homage to the lord and lady of the underworld. Catholic teachings became mixed into native beliefs when the Spaniards introduced Catholic faith to the Aztecs. The festival was then moved to correspond with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The festival moved through Southern Mexico and continued to spread north. The holiday continues to be celebrated in Mexico and even in the United States.
Many hold Día De Los Muertos close to their hearts. It is not only a day to honor and celebrate those who have passed, but it’s also a day to remember the significance and impact they had on one’s life. ◆