The autumn months are upon us and that means that the holiday season is soon to be in full swing. Halloween and Thanksgiving are the two big fall players, but that’s not to say that other holidays don’t deserve as much attention and recognition. Case in point: El Día de Los Muertos, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead.
It’s unfortunate and somewhat cringeworthy, but this holiday is known by most Americans as “Mexican Halloween,” when in fact it could not be more different from our beloved candy-filled charade.
Día de Los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday that spans from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 and focuses on honoring deceased loved ones.
There is so much to learn and love about this holiday, and West Chester University will be showcasing the tradition with its own event next month on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Mitchell Hall’s first floor lobby.
The event is being sponsored by the Spanish Club and the Latin American and Latinx Studies program. David Reyes, a graduate student at WCU, is organizing the event with the help of Dr. Marcos Campillo-Fenoll and a few other students, myself included.
The goal of hosting a Día de Los Muertos event at WCU is to educate students and faculty about the traditions behind the holiday and get people interested and talking about Mexican culture. With so much negative rhetoric about Hispanic people and culture surging through this election cycle, Reyes feels that now is the ideal time to showcase the positive and vibrant aspects to whoever is interested in learning more.
“The purpose of a Día de Los Muertos event is to not only share Latino culture with WCU but also to help create a positive image for Latinos,” Reyes said. “They are a passionate and hard-working community who go far beyond their labels. Also, it would be great to remove the link between Halloween and El Día de Los Muertos because they are very different.”
The event will feature an information session about the holiday itself to give people a true understanding of what this two-day holiday entails. There will also be sugar skull painting, traditional tissue paper marigolds, snacks to munch on and an opportunity to write a note to a deceased loved one and release it on a balloon.
So come out on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. to the Mitchell Hall lobby and learn more about the amazing traditions that El Día de Los Muertos has to offer. It may just become your new favorite fall holiday.
Rachel Alfiero is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in Latin American studies and Spanish. She can be reached at RA806657@wcupa.edu.