Día de Los Muertos Poetry Reading, Ofrenda, & Expo Nov. 2
UHD will celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead (no association with the zombie movie of the same name), with two events:
- A Poetry Reading & Ofrenda from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, in One Main Building, N925, sponsored by UHD’s Writing & Reading Center (WRC). Food and drinks will be provided.
- The 5th Annual Day of the Dead Expo in the Spanish Lab, One Main Building, N930, in honor of former UHD professor Dr. Edwin K. Padilla and various Hispanic authors. The Expo is open to view through Nov. 2 and is sponsored by Sigma Delta Pi, UHD Spanish Program, and the UHD Center for Latino Studies.
Sometimes confused with Halloween, Día de los Muertos is a different celebration altogether, although it does share features with Halloween—costumes, candy, and the theme of death. Traditionally celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2, Día de los Muertos follows All Hallows Eve (Halloween). The story goes that the gates of heaven open that night to allow souls to return to earth—children on Nov. 1, adults on Nov. 2. The celebration dates back 3,000 years to rituals honoring the dead practiced by ethnic groups in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (now central Mexico).
Today, the holiday is widely celebrated as a brief period when the souls of the dead visit the living, and typically involves commemorating departed friends and family with ofrendas—altars in the home that feature the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased. These same foods and beverages are sometimes taken graveside to be consumed “with” the departed. In spite of its gloomy theme, the tone of the holiday is one of joy and happy remembrances, with celebrants often sharing humorous anecdotes about those who have passed away.
According to Wikipedia, “the celebration is not solely focused on the dead, as it is also common to give gifts to friends such as candy sugar skulls, to share traditional pan de muerto (bread of the dead) with family and friends, and to write light-hearted and often irreverent verses in the form of mock epitaphs dedicated to living friends and acquaintances, a literary form known as calaveras literarias.”