What day of the dead is and how it’s celebrated by different students!
Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Latin American tradition that celebrates one’s family members who have passed. Traditionally, an altar is set up with the pictures of the deceased family members. In addition, the things that the deceased family members loved, such as food or sentimental objects, are placed along with their picture in the altar. These actions are carried out, because this holiday goes deeper than remembering those that have passed. For some, Dia De Los Muertos, November 2nd, is the day in which the line between the living and the dead blurs.
Since Day of the Dead is the only day the dead can experience the earthly things they once loved, family members make sure to place their deceased family member’s specific favorites in the altar.
For some, like Paula Mercado, this day is important, because it allows her to truly connect to her family members that have passed. In particular, this day allows her living family members to be thankful for the actions of those that are no longer with them.
For others, like Julian Alcaraz, this day is one in which the living family members get to honor the deceased. For him, this holiday is a beautiful one because it offers the younger generations an opportunity to connect with those they did not get the chance to meet. This is the case with Julian’s grandfather, who died when Julian was very young. Despite never knowing his grandfather, the holiday offers Julian an opportunity to feel close to him. This is achieved when Julian and his family set up his grandfather’s favorites: Coca Cola bottle, Mexican bread, and a cigarette.
Julian celebrates this tradition, despite his family no longer residing in Mexico. He is well aware that his family’s celebration of Day of the Dead has shifted due to assimilating to western culture. For Julian’s family, Day of the Dead is an annual celebration, but there have been some times in which they forget the date is approaching. For the most part, though, his family’s celebration has not been too affected by assimilation, since he feels like he lives in an area where diversity is celebrated.
However, some students like Citlali Mendez-Mendoza, have been greatly affected by assimilating. She is aware that she used to celebrate Day of the Dead. However, her only memory she has of the celebration is praying for the dead. Once her family moved to the United States, her family stopped celebrating it. Overall, she feels like Day of the Dead is not as celebrated in the U.S. as it is in Mexico. As a result, the tradition slowly disappeared in her family. So, while Day of the Dead is still a cherishable holiday for many Latin Americans, others have lost the tradition due to assimilating to the predominant culture.
By: Saraleim Mozqueda Saldana | A&E Editor