On behalf of Student Life, Residential Life, Enrollment, Extended Studies and myself, we would like to invite you all to our first “Dias de los Muertos” (Days of the Dead) celebration in the dining hall area during the week of October 24th through the 30th. This ancient holiday, commemorates the lives of deceased loved ones, while highlighting the importance of celebrating life. Our event will expose the customs, traditions and history of Dia de los Muertos and how other cultures view death, their death rituals, traditions and special days of remembrance of the dead.
There will be opportunities for all to engage in this celebration at various levels of participation. We will have crafts workshops led by students and an art workshop led by a local artist. You will be welcomed to participate in the construction of UWest’s Dia de los Muertos altar throughout the week, by contributing photos, trinkets, flowers, etc. in tribute to deceased loved ones. If you are interested in learning more about Dia de los Muertos, we will be showing various short films throughout the week and Ms. Consuelo Flores, a well-known Dia de los Muertos speaker and local artist, will join us on the 27th to talk to us about the holiday. There will be an opportunity for any willing attendees to briefly address the community, via an “Open Mic” discussion, on their own culture’s death rituals, traditions or to pay tribute to a deceased loved one. Also, we will have an exciting performance by a dance group, “In Tlanextli Tlacopan Aztec Fire Dancers”, which I know you will not want to miss! Following the Aztec dancers, a group of Buddhist monastics will provide a brief chanting service for the dead. Lastly, we will have a convocation for the dead where all the names of your deceased loved ones will be called out in remembrance of their lives.
All the events and activities for this event will take place on or around lunchtime, in the effort to facilitate attendance to anyone who is interested. For your convenience, many of the activities have a time duration posted next to it in italics. We envision a unique “East meets West” cultural sharing experience, where the community can familiarize themselves with the traditions of the Latino culture, and in turn be encouraged to practice and share their own culture’s traditions with others. Below you will find the schedule of events for “Dias de los Muertos”. Enjoy!