Dia de los Muertos brings old tradition to life

Celebration, altar set up for family members to ‘party with’ departed



“I grew up with [the celebration] and has been close to my family,” MEChA Representative Carina Gonzalez, left, said as she discussed the meaning of Dia del los Muertos on Tuesday in the CUB.

ZACH GOFF, Evergreen reporter

Dia de los Muertos, commonly known in the U.S. as Day of the Dead, is a celebration of people who have died.

Alejandra Gutierrez, a second-year senior majoring in psychology and criminal justice with a double minor in sociology and comparative ethnic studies, is the liaison between ASWSU MEChA de WSU and Mujeres Unidas in putting the altar together here on campus.

She said the holiday begins Wednesday and goes until Friday. The celebration is to remember those who have passed and give them offerings as they come back to visit their loved ones.

“One day is to celebrate the lives of the kids who have passed away, and the other is for everyone else,” she said.

The altar is where people present food to ancestors so when they come back from the dead, they can eat it and celebrate with their families, Gutierrez said.

“It’s a way for them to come back and party with us,” Gutierrez said.

Carina Gonzalez, MEChA’s representative for Dia de los Muertos, hopes to bring everyone together this year during the Day of the Dead.

“We want to unify the community all together,” Gonzales said. “This is a celebration that impacts a lot of us. It’s something we can all come together and have similar beliefs and values on.”

Gonzalez also believes in the event, not only as a way to bring people together, but what it represents and how it can affect people.

“I think it’s just the connection we have with our loved ones that have passed away that makes the celebration so special,” Gonzalez said.

Anyone participating should come with an open mind and show respect to a different culture’s practices, Gutierrez said.

“This year, we decided to have one giant altar to bring everyone together,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez explained how personal the event is for her and said it’s important to reminisce about the lives of loved ones. It’s a celebration that honors those who have passed.

The event is hosted by ASWSU MEChA de WSU and is free to the public. Held annually, the celebration begins 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ensminger Pavilion and is scheduled to last until Friday.

“I grew up with [the celebration] and has been close to my family,” Gonzalez said. “Hearing about it being on campus and I really wanted to be a part of this.”

The event will host performances, arts and crafts, a memorial for those who have passed and a catered dinner, according to their events page. Gonzalez hopes to provide a space for everyone to gather and celebrate the event.