Colorado State University-Pueblo hosted an event in honor of the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos as students, staff, faculty and local residents saw the traditions of the holiday.
They also honored and remembered the lives of people whom they loved and passed on.
Fawn-Amber Montoya, assistant professor of history, Chicano Studies, philosophy and political science, was one of the event’s organizers and is the coordinator of Chicano Studies.
Montoya said several campus organizations sponsored the event. The Catholic Campus Ministry, Chicano Studies Program, Diversity Resource Center, English and foreign language department, M.E.Ch.A., Mujeres Unidas de CSU-Pueblo, the Office of Student Activities and Spanish Program organized it.
The event had many altars which were decorated with pictures, that were in tribute of the deceased, candles and colored fabrics. The altars also had bread, skeleton skull decorations, stories and memorabilia about the person who passed on.
Montoya said there were bars of soap, water, flowers and sugar skulls on the altars. She said the flowers represented the lives that passed on and soap with water was there for people to wash their hands before eating the bread on the altar.
Montoya said it started when people ate fruit and bread decorated with designs of skeletons, drank hot cocoa, water and juice with fruit.
There was a dance performance by the Toch.tli Aztec Dancers. They performed dances in authentic, indigenous costumes with the accompaniment of a drum.
Alegria Ribadeneneira, assistant professor of English and foreign languages, said the Day of the Dead is a worldwide celebration about the people whom have passed on.
“For some people it’s a cultural experience, for some others it’s a spiritual experience,” Ribadeneneira said. “For some others it’s a time to remember their own personal friends or family that have passed on.”
The second half of the event ended as Joyce Archuletta, coordinator of Catholic Campus Ministry, spoke at the prayer vigil. She recited a prayer of Saint Francis and the attendees had candles that were lit. The people gathered around altars in the center of the OUC Ballroom. Several of the attendees read a prayer, then everyone said “praised be the creator.”
Archuletta said the purpose of the vigil was to have the people pray for the people they loved that are deceased. She also said that the vigil was a ceremony where the attendees could relate to each other.
Archuletta also said she wanted to give the people a chance to express their feelings toward the deaths of their loved ones.
The second half of it ended when Montoya announced the winners of the altar competition. Altars were judged on creativity and decorations. The winners were divided between students and local residents.
Montoya said the competition was a chance for students and people of the community to participate. The participants spent time building their altars.