AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - In the heart of Mexico and among Mexican communities worldwide, the end of October and beginning of November marks a time of vibrant festivities, rich cultural traditions and deep reverence for the departed. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a unique celebration that blends ancient indigenous customs with Catholicism, creating a colorful tapestry of rituals that honor the cycle of life and death.
At its core, Día de los Muertos is a celebration of remembrance, a time when families and communities come together to pay tribute to their deceased loved ones. The festivities typically kick off on October 31st and continue until November 2nd, aligning with the Catholic All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Contrary to the mournful atmosphere often associated with death, Día de los Muertos is a joyful commemoration characterized by lively music, elaborate costumes, and delicious food.
Incredibly important to this tradition are ofrendas – altars carefully constructed by families to welcome the spirits of the departed back to the realm of the living. These ofrendas are decorated with marigold flowers, symbolizing the fragility of life, candles that light the way for the souls, colorful papel picado (paper cutouts) that dance in the wind, photographs of the departed, their favorite foods and cherished belongings that create a deeply personal connection between the living and the dead.
Día de los Muertos is not just a Mexican tradition; it has become a global phenomenon, celebrated by people of diverse cultures who embrace its message of celebrating life, honoring the dead and embracing the inevitability of mortality. The Auburn University campus is no different. Auburn’s Program Council partnered with the Latinx Student Alliance for the second year in a row to host a Día de Los Muertos event.
The second-year celebration of Día de los Muertos saw students from diverse backgrounds learning about and participating in a hallmark of Mexican culture. Students played Mexican games, ate baked goods called conchas, and even placed pictures of their late loved ones at an ofrenda. It was a powerful reminder that, in the face of loss, there is beauty in cherishing the lives of those who have passed away. Through this unique and colorful tradition, Auburn University’s Program Council and Latinx Student Alliance continued to affirm the enduring connection between the living and the deceased.