Friday, October 31, 2014

Spanish Student's Altar for Día de los Muertos

Today, October 31st, marks the first day of a Mexican holiday called Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Día de Muertos is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a bank holiday. The celebration takes place on October 31st, November 1st and November 2nd, in connection with the triduum of Allhallowtide: All Hallows' Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls' Day. One tradition of Día de Muertos is the creation of an altar. The altar, or offering, for the dead is a sacred, Mexican tradition. Common items found in an altar are featured in the picture to the left. With this altar, the living honor the dead, who visit the altar November 1-2.  November 1st is dedicated to honoring deceased children, whereas November 2nd honors adult souls.  The dead co-exist and converse with the living, and the dead comfort the living for their loss.

The Spanish students in the Department of Romance Language and Literatures worked together to create an alter in respect and remembrance of the college students who were abducted and killed by the local Ayotzinapa police and the drug cartel. The whereabouts of the remaining 39 young students are still unknown. Our thoughts and prayers will forever be with the families of the victims who were lost. We offer our condolences to the families of the students who are still missing, and we are thankful to the Mexican consulate of Philadelphia for sending a representative to advise the students on how to prepare the alter. The altar can be viewed by the staircase on the first floor of SAC.

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