The two-day celebration of Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) begins November 1st, and some members of the Latinos Unidos club at Harper College are doing their part to observe the holiday and keep tradition alive.
The club built their own traditional Day of the Dead altar in the Building A student center, right between Violet's coffee shop and the couches where students can hang out and relax between classes. The altar took two days to set up, and is adorned with paper flowers, skulls, candles and pictures or mementos of deceased loved ones. Brenda Escutia, Harper College student and President of the Latino Unidos club, is bringing a photo of a deceased friend on which she has written “You truly were a pocketful of sunshine” to place on the altar. “My friend was always happy,” she said, “and that’s why I dedicated that quote to him.
The Day of the Dead observance is part of International Education week at Harper College, which runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, and also features film screenings, guest lectures, a Human Rights expo and German Fest.
The reason why the altar is constructed, Escutia said, is because the spirits of the deceased are thought to pay a visit on Dia de los Muertos. Children are honored on Nov. 1, while adults are recognized and remembered on Nov. 2nd.
Escutia said that the altar is built not only to recognize the popular tradition in Hispanic culture, but also to educate others on campus about the holiday. “It is truly a celebration of life, and not a sad or scary day."