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Tradition comes alive Campus Programming Board hosts Dia de los Muertos celebrations


Yellow, purple and red crepe paper flowers decorated the Edinburg Student Union lobby where UT Rio Grande Valley celebrated Día de los Muertos Monday.

Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration which takes place Nov. 2, honors “dead loved ones and [makes] peace with the eventuality of death by treating it familiarly, without fear and dread,” according to Encyclopaedia Britannica online. People honor those who have died by preparing special cuisine and setting altars with the photographs and mementos of the dead.   

The Campus Programming Board also hosted a similar celebration in the Main Building’s patio on the Brownsville campus.

“The purpose of today’s event was just to get, like, the students to know some more information about Dia de los Muertos,”said education sophomore Kassandra Zambrano, cultural chair of the CPB. “We put up some posters and they’re having face painting. We had an altar put up and we had some pictures of some people that had passed away.”

More than 100 students attended the event on the Edinburg campus.

Students were served pan de muerto, the traditional pastry made for the celebration, and could paint their faces with the traditional skeleton look, or calavera.

Psychology junior Emily Zurita had her face painted at the event and said she liked the festivities, the color and everyone getting together for something that may be grim at times.

Asked what she hopes fellow students learn about Día de los Muertos, Zurita replied: “I guess, to learn more about it, even though it just looks like food and Halloween, when it’s more than that.”

That same day, the Writing and Language Studies Department celebrated Day of the Dead with an altar on the third floor of the Arts and Humanities building in Edinburg.

“It has fruit. So, that’s very important because a lot of the dead, apparently, they would come and join the relatives that were still alive and they would eat with them,” said Carmela Garcia, a lecturer for the department. “[On] the altar, we have the pictures of the people we’re honoring. In this case, they are the writers Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and one of the critics, Emmanuel Carballo. We have also the candles, they’re very significant. … and we have the flowers, the traditional colors, which are the yellow, which is the mourning color for the Aztecs, and we have the purple, which is the color of the mourning of the Christians.”

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