The Carleton community came together to commemorate the dead and celebrate life at the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration hosted by the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) in the Great Hall last Friday night.
The event was held to “raise people’s awareness of a different tradition on campus,” said Maribel Zagal ‘14, chair of LASO.
She continued, “We want people to know that there isn’t just scary
Halloween, but there exists a more religious tradition related to the dead. We also want to bring more people to something they were not familiar with and build a community together.”
Dia de los Muertos is a holiday observed mainly in Central America. People visit the graves of their loved ones together, tell stories about them and leave behind the things that they loved during life.
“It is a way to remember your loved ones that are no longer there, reflecting on how they had positively influenced your life,” said Zagal.
Participants enjoyed tamales, bread and hot chocolate and were treated to several performances.
LASO members Johnny Zapata ‘16 and Eddisa Herrera ‘16 recited a poem together addressed to a child about to be born, while Patsy Pineda ‘14 and Victoria Sanchez ‘15 also delivered a poem addressed to a deceased grandfather.
Solly Danno ‘14 and Tanwaporn Ohl ‘14 sang “Drops of Jupiter” by Train for Ohl’s father who had passed away. Wrapping up the event were two traditional Aztec dance groups from Northfield and South Minneapolis.
Danno said that he was very satisfied with the outcome of the event: ”We had a lot better turnout than we have expected and the Aztec dancers were amazing.”
One unexpected attendant of the celebration was President Poskanzer, who celebrated Dia de los Muertos for the first time.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about this special way of honoring departed loved ones, ancestors and role models,” he said.
Reflecting on the night’s performances, he said, “Two special highlights for me were the poems delivered by Carleton students and the gorgeous and powerful Aztec dancers.
The event strengthened my own sense of awareness of the never-ending ties to my own ancestors and those who have passed away.”
As the light of the candles glistened, each representing a loved one, attendees left the Great Hall feeling moved and inspired.
When Dia de los Muertos comes around again next year, they will not only take part in Halloween, but also look forward to this beautiful festivity of life and death.