Dia de Los Muertos: Remembering Our Loved Ones

From sugar skulls to Cempasuchitls, Dia de Los Muertos is a sacred tradition passed down from generation to generation. 

Originating from Aztec traditions in Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos is a special day where families come together to remember and cherish their loved ones who have passed away. Every year, it is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2. Although this is a holiday enjoyed by many, it can bring many bittersweet memories to those who have lost the people they care for the most.

DVC’s Hispanic Heritage Month committee decided it would be important to bring students together to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos. They planned and promoted the organization of a school-wide ofrenda, which is an altar made specifically for Dia de Los Muertos. Ofrendas are made usually including Cempasuchitls, also known as Marigolds, and items that the person who passed thoroughly enjoyed. These items could range anywhere from food or toys. Each ofrenda is unique in its own way. 

Valeria Gonzalez, a senior at DVC, shared her thoughts about DVC’s ofrenda. Gonzalez mentioned how she appreciated seeing such high numbers of participation from students when it came to creating the school-wide ofrenda. 

“I think it’s really amazing that the Hispanic Heritage Month committee was able to organize this and have students bring in pictures of people they love to add to the ofrenda,” said Gonzalez. “I feel like this also helps build that cultural aspect of DVC that many underclassmen didn’t have the opportunity to experience due to virtual instruction.”

While DVC has done it’s part to participate in the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, what does the celebration of the holiday look like in homes? 

Maria Barahona has been commemorating her loved ones since she was little. She went into detail about how much this holiday means to her and her family. Ever since the passing of her younger brother and nephew, she has developed an even stronger connection with this holiday.

“My nephew and brother died four days apart from each other. Even though it’s been many years since it has happened, I get so emotional every time I see their pictures on the ofrenda,” stated Barahona. “As much as it hurts to see them in a picture frame, I still feel connected to them during this time of the year. It’s as if they are still here with me. For that reason, I will continue to carry on this tradition to my children hoping they carry it on to their children as well.”

Gricelda Lozano is one of the many people who didn’t fully understand what the significance of Dia de Los Muertos is. After seeing an ofrenda with pictures of her 2 children, her perspective on Dia de Los Muertos changed.

“My parents have never shown me the importance of Dia de Los Muertos. I felt as if it was some silly holiday that people celebrate. When I went to my son’s house he put pictures of his 2 brothers, my sons, who passed away a long time ago,” stated Lozano. “I started tearing up when I saw them. I began to feel extremely emotional. I had felt as if they were there with me at that exact moment. I now understand why this is such an important holiday in Latino communities.”