Latinos Unidos reflects on Día de Los Muertos celebration

OUTSTANDING+OFRENDA.+To+celebrate+D%C3%ADa+de+Los+Muertos%2C+Latinos+Unidos+set+up+an+elaborate+and+inviting+ofrenda+in+the+library+for+all+students+to+admire+and+learn+more+about+the+history+of+the+celebration.+Leader+of+the+group+Maryeva+Gonzalez+took+inspiration+from+her+own+family+traditions.+%E2%80%9CI+usually+celebrate+with+my+family%2C+and+we+make+an+ofrenda+in+our+house%E2%80%A6+we+honor+our+family+members+who+have+passed+away%2C+she+said.

OUTSTANDING OFRENDA. To celebrate Día de Los Muertos, Latinos Unidos set up an elaborate and inviting ofrenda in the library for all students to admire and learn more about the history of the celebration. Leader of the group Maryeva Gonzalez took inspiration from her own family traditions. “I usually celebrate with my family, and we make an ofrenda in our house… we honor our family members who have passed away,” she said.

Though it is often overshadowed by Halloween in the United States, Día de Los Muertos is an important celebration for the Latinx community (especially in Mexican culture) that begins just a day after, on Nov. 1. The two-day holiday translates to “Day of the Dead” in English and is a chance to remember and honor loved ones who have died.

The holiday originated in Mexico and combines Aztec rituals with Catholicism, beginning in the days of the Spanish conquistadors. As the celebrations continue, several traditions remain the most common and widely-valued for Latinx people who take part in this holiday. Latinos Unidos (an affinity group for Latinx students) leader Maryeva Gonzalez said, “I usually celebrate with my family, and we make an ofrenda in our house… we honor our family members who have passed away.” An ofrenda is a beautifully decorated altar filled with items such as marigold flowers, candles, calaveras (sugar skulls), and photos of those who have passed.

All of these practices have one common purpose: to celebrate and remember the lives of people who have died, rather than becoming enveloped in the sadness that comes with mourning a loss.”

Beyond creating ofrendas, there are many other ways that people can celebrate Día de Los Muertos and create traditions that are unique to their families. Gonzalez added, “People will go and visit the graves of their loved ones, and oftentimes, they’ll bring a dish of that person’s favorite food or an item that was dear to them.” All of these practices have one common purpose: to celebrate and remember the lives of people who have died, rather than becoming enveloped in the sadness that comes with mourning a loss.

Monica Garrido-Mejia, the faculty advisor for Latinos Unidos shared that the group “mounted a small ofrenda, translated to ‘offering,’ in the library.” They decorated it with traditional items like calaveras and pan de muerto, a food commonly baked during this festive time. Members of the SPA community are welcome to take a look at the beautiful altar to learn more about the holiday and its rich history.

Additionally, those who are not a member of the Latinx community and/or do not celebrate Día de Los Muertos should educate themselves further. This holiday is unfortunately under-recognized in the U.S. and should not go overlooked in the future. If you want to support the community (whether during this festive time or not), consider looking at local, Latinx-owned businesses. Check out this link to find a list of art studios, markets, and restaurants owned by Latinx people in Minneapolis.

¡Feliz Día de Los Muertos!