With a handcrafted altar and a plethora of traditional goodies, students at College of the Canyons (COC) celebrated Dia de Los Muertos Wednesday.
Hosted by the college’s new Global Citizens Association, the event celebrated the lives of loved ones who have passed while also educating classmates about the history and traditions of the Mexican holiday.
“This is actually the club’s first event ever because we just got chartered this semester… Since we’re internationally-based, we’ll be doing a lot of cultural events,” said Cathy Urbina, president of the Global Citizens Association. “We are asking students if they know what the Day of the Dead is and if not we explain the altar since that’s the main focal point for the Day of the Dead.”
After speaking with two of the club’s members from Mexico, the Global Citizens Association decided to create a colorful altar decorated with photos, food, flowers, drinks and sports items.
“For Dia de los Muertos it is based upon people who have passed so the altar is the main focal point in the celebration so when people set up the altar the pictures are a big part of it. The rest of the altar is worked around what the person who has passed really liked,” Urbina said. “You put the offerings on the altar on Nov. 1 through Nov. 2. They’ll [loved ones who have passed] come at night to eat the offerings you put there for them so that’s the reason why it’s usually decorated with a lot of food.”
The club also invited members of the COC community to place photos of their loved ones who passed away.
Natalie Simo, an employee in the college’s International Office, and her son Rufio Simo-Borpujari placed a photo of Simo’s father, Arturo Simo, on the altar during the all-day event,
“Natalie brought a picture of her dad who passed away a few years ago and she brought the baseball because he was a baseball fanatic,” Urbina said. “She kept that tradition up for herself and she kept it up with her kids too.”
The club also chose to sell items like Pan de Muerto, a traditional Mexican bread, candy and beverages during the event.
“In Mexico it’s a huge thing where a lot of people do come together to eat so that’s the reason we decided to sell some Pan de Muerto which is a typical Mexican bread that is sold during this time,” Urbina said. “The stores only sell it during this time as well.”
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