Día de Los Muertos event aims to celebrate heritage, lost loved ones


By Teresa Aguilera, OMN Illustrator

Día De Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated in the beginning of November to remember and pray for lost loved ones. Decorative skulls are the most recognizable cultural elements of this holiday, as shown in this illustration.

Hannah Lull, Beaver's Digest Contributor

Día de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is just around the corner. Tomorrow, on Nov. 2, Oregon State University is holding an on-campus event for Día de Los Muertos partakers at the gathering hall of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws building from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Maia Barnes is a third-year student at OSU and works as a leadership liaison at Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws. She’s one of the main planners for the Día de Los Muertos celebrations, a holiday that allows people to celebrate and reminisce their deceased loved ones. 

“Día de Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2,” Barnes said. “It originated in Mexico, and is celebrated by those with Indigenous roots in Mexico. There will be an ofrenda (which is an altar celebrating loved ones and is a space for offerings, pictures and other items) as well as different activities set up near the ofrenda with information about the meaning of the activities and the holiday.”

Anyone is welcome to attend the Día de Los Muertos celebration. Activities being held at the event include writing cards to past loved ones, face painting and decorating sugar skulls. The traditional Mexican card game, lotería, will also be a part of the festivities. This card game has been a key way to celebrate Día de Los Muertos in the past, as some say its sole purpose is to unite families. 

Each activity offered will be a learning interactive study for people to understand the holiday better. 

“While this is an honoring holiday, remember to celebrate and be respectful,” Barnes said. “If you don’t have much knowledge of Día de Los Muertos, don’t be afraid to ask questions and interact with the activities we will have set up.” 

Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws is collaborating with the Centro Cultural César Chávez and both facilities have worked together in the past. This year, representatives from each center have been meeting weekly to discuss and plan, giving each center different tasks to ensure a well-planned, fun event for Día de Los Muertos celebrators.

Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws is a center that promotes cultural appreciation and provides a community of Indigenous people of the Americas and Pacific Islands. Events are held throughout the year that encourage people to learn about the history, culture and prominent issues in today’s society regarding Indigenous people. 

Centro Cultural César Chávez provides another safe community for people of Latinx and Chicanx backgrounds to explore their cultural history, while supporting them in the educational and professional development. They have a wide variety of student resources like computers, a study room, TV and a library of information on Latinx cultures and issues open for all students to use. 

Both centers have realized how important Día de Los Muertos is for OSU students wanting to celebrate or just wanting to learn more about the holiday. 

“This is an Indigenous holiday that needs to be represented during heritage month,” Barnes said. “It’s important to many people in our community and is to help educate other people about these celebrations if they want to learn.” 

Was this article helpful?