Students celebrate Latino culture at Southern Utah University with the annual observation of Día de Los Muertos, translated as The Day of the Dead.
The celebration is put together by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Latino Student Alliance. This celebration features alters in front of the CDI and in the library, with pictures of deceased family members and important figures in American history.
Día de Los Muertos is a three-day festival that takes place in Mexico and Central America. The celebration honors the deceased and invites them back to the land of the living.
“Day of the dead is meant to celebrate the life of our ancestors,” Maria Martinez, Director of the CDI, said. “A lot of the time we think about mourning the death, where Día de Los Muertos is actually a celebration of their life and of those people.”
The celebration originates in ancient Mesoamerica and is an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The 3000-year-old tradition features alters, skulls and celebration.
Displayed on the altar outside the CDI offices, along with skulls, flowers and candles, are pictures.
“We [the CDI] wanted to incorporate all of our other clubs,” Martinez said. “We asked each organization to add to the altar with people or a cause that was important to them.”
The Latino Student Alliance put the celebration together and dedicated the event to all their ancestors and family members.
The Black Student Union dedicated their pictures to the Black Lives Matter movement and standing up against police brutality.
Representing the Pride and Equality Club were pictures of trans women of color as well as important forerunners in the LGBTQ community that have passed on.
The Native American Student Association dedicated their celebration to the murdered and missing indigenous women.
Mental health and suicide was represented by the Polynesian club as they honored a fellow student and member of their community.
“It’s really nice to see and very much appreciated,” Pablo Suarez, a freshman nutrition and music dual major, said. “Seeing the altar in the library was kind of a shocker, but it made me really happy because you think it’s just something they celebrate in Mexico. It’s cool to see people taking the initiative to bring it to SUU.”
The celebration will continue through the weekend. SUU students are encouraged to participate.
“We invite everyone, that if you have pictures of friends and family you would like to add to the altar in order to celebrate them, then please bring them,” Martinez said.
Pictures can be taken to the CDI offices. To learn more about the CDI and the different cultures they represent, visit their website here.
Story by: Easton Bowring
Photos by: Easton Bowring