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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Dia de los Muertos event celebrates cultural traditions

Photo by Adriano Espinosa

Orange flowers meant to guide the dead home adorn the Ofrenda at the MSC Stark Galleries Dia De Los Muertos Ofrenda exhibit. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

The Memorial Student Center Committee for the Awareness of Mexican-American Culture, or MSC CAMAC, organized a Dia de los Muertos event on Nov. 1 from 3-5 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 5-7 p.m. at the Stark Galleries in partnership with the Hispanic President Council, or HPC, and the Multicultural Greek Council, or MGC.

MSC CAMAC curated an ofrenda exhibit, which is an altar with an ornate display that honors the passing of loved ones. Organizations including MGC, HPC and the Council for Minority Student Affairs, or CMSA, established activity stations such as face painting and message writing for the departed that allow guests to engage in customs. While primarily rooted in the Hispanic community, Dia de los Muertos is embraced in many cultures.

“Some of the often things you might find on an ofrenda can be flowers — either paper or living,” microbiology senior and president of CMSA Aldair Monsivais said. “A cempasúchil [marigold flower] has a very strong scent so it brings the deceased back to the world of living. It’s the same thing with the candles too. The candles give light to the path the deceased will follow along to come back to the living world.”

The ofrenda altar table sat adorned with photographs of departed loved ones, which students could contribute to by submitting pictures prior to the event. Most of the items held symbolic significance, Monsivais said. The altar held decorative colorful paper in shades of blue, red, orange and green. There was sweet bread, and religious candles of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on the ofrenda.

The event is sad but not mourning, Monsivais said. It’s a celebration for the ones who have passed and it’s all about the community coming together.

“This day is to honor the lives of those who have passed away,” Monsivais said. “To recognize their memories and to keep them alive.”

The event held a table with champurrado, or Mexican hot chocolate, for attendees. Allied health freshman and intern of HPC Ariana Granda-Moncayo was passing the beverage out. Moncayo said though she didn’t celebrate with family back home, she celebrated this holiday with her friends at A&M.

“I am from Ecuador, but a lot of my friends are Mexican and they celebrate Dia de los Muertos,” Moncayo said. “We do face paint and we do the altar; they have the conchas and pan dulce.”

Moncayo said she sent a picture of her late great-grandmother. Moncayo said her great-grandmother taught her to crochet as a little girl, and it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she picked it up as her main hobby.

“She raised my grandpa as a single mom,” Moncayo said. “She was a very strong woman and when I was little she was very glad to have a great-granddaughter and would always want to babysit me.”

Psychology junior Evelyn Perez said she would be helping her grandmother make tamales for the celebration back home. Perez is executive Vice President of MGC and sister of Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, Inc. She took part in face painting the guests at the event and shared that around this time back home she would also be participating in similar events but with her family.

“This holiday usually for me was a lot of cooking,” Perez said. “At the end of the day, we would all eat together, make tamales, carne guisada, set up an ofrenda; we would pray and have a big meal.”

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About the Contributor
Maryhelen Guerrero, Life & Arts Writer
Howdy! Maryhelen is a journalism sophomore from Houston, Texas with a double minor in creative studies and communication. She has a passion for writing about student life and involvement. Outside of journalism, Maryhelen loves running, writing and meeting new people.
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