The MultiCultural Center and Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlán (MEXA) will hold a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration this Friday, Nov. 4, starting at 5 p.m. in the UU Plaza. The event will feature altars, aztec dancers, face painting, and craft booths. Desserts and traditional drinks will be served.
Jose Leon, lead coordinator of the MultiCultural Center, said groups like MEXA want to share their Latinx culture with the rest of campus.
“What really separates this year from previous years is the broader student participation,” Leon said. “We want to make sure there’s a focus on educating the general campus on the practice of and history of Dia de los Muertos.”
Dia de los Muertos is a Latin American holiday dedicated to remembering and celebrating the lives of those who are deceased. Contrary to its name, Dia de los Muertos is actually celebrated over multiple days, traditionally from Oct. 31-November 2.
There have already been two events held in celebration at Cal Poly: a calavera workshop and a skull face painting workshop.
Calaveras are human skulls made out of sugar that are meant to represent deceased ancestors, according to Leon. The face painting ritual, on the other hand, developed out of indigenous mask making.
“When someone paints half of their face, it’s meant to symbolize inching towards death, but not in a negative way,” Leon said. “Dia de los Muertos is a holiday meant to celebrate and honor individuals that have died, but helped get you to where you are today.”
Events like the Dia de los Muertos celebration help give Latinx students a sense of belonging while also building a sense of community on campus, Leon said.