Spanish Club and HASA host Day of Dead on campus

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Colorful imagery paints a picture of the events that take place during Día de Los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead. Predominantly celebrated in the Central and South regions of Mexico from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the holiday celebrates the return of the souls of loved ones who have passed on.

BW’s Day of the Dead event, hosted by Spanish Club and the Hispanic American Student Association (HASA), will take place on Oct. 31, at 6:00 p.m. in Marting Hall’s Treuhaft Lounge.

Both of the clubs collaborate about what they want to do during the event, said said Catalina Garcia Faundez, senior and president of Spanish Club. Both the Spanish Cluband HASA understand the importance of the day and want to display their culture across campus, she said.

“[We] realized that we want people to know more about Day of the Dead,” said senior and Vice President of HASA Nancy Guzman.  I’ve always celebrated it at home, so it’s a thing that I’m used to. For instance, Day of the Dead is actually more than one day [with] one day specifically for Day of the Dead.”

HASA wants the event to give BW community members a chance to interact with Latinx people who are sometimes dehumanized by social media platforms.

“We kind of hope to humanize Latinx folk for people who have only gotten the opportunity to see us as stereotypes,” said Eli Elisa Fuentes, senior and president of HASA.. And also community building for the Latinos on campus. At predominantly white institutions, a lot of times it can be hard to find your people as a Latino/Latina, not for everybody, but we hope to give that space and sense of community for people that do feel that way.”

For some of HASA members, this event is annually celebrated. For new members of the clubs, Guzman said there are activities that occur to help new members better understand the traditions of the holiday.

“I want to share with everyone in this building an altar because that’s kind of what you do for Day of the Dead, and that’s how you celebrate it,” said Guzman.

Spanish club is also planning to paint faces and have poems related to the Day of the Dead, said Faundez. Although the third year, this is the first year the Spanish club has teamed up with HASA.

Along with painting faces, the Spanish Club will provide Calaveras, paper skulls to color to commemorate loved ones. Participants will be encouraged to leave a Calavera at the altar as HASA plans to build one to explain the importance of Día de los Muertos.

The poems provided by Spanish Club are “not traditionally [a part of Día de los Muertos], but we wanted to include poems from Hispanic authors, so we want them to be related to death but not it a dark sense,” said Garcia Faundez. “It’s more [so] you can remember the people that you’ve lost, and we’re going to have the poems in English and Spanish.”

HASA will also provide music to commemorate past loved ones, said Guzman.

“Some of [the music] will be live,” she said. “Some of it will be playlists to have music going the whole time. It might just be music in Spanish.”

Food will be provided, as well. There will be a warm beverage, either coffee or tea, and then something sweet, said Guzman. Traditionally for a holiday, families display an aray of because they believe the souls come back home.

“I don’t think that we want this to be seen as an event that we are putting on for other people,” said Fuentes. “We are not putting on an altar for other people to look at. We want people to participate in building it with us and experience the holiday as much as they can.”

Participants are invited to bring a picture or name of a past loved one to place at the altar, and anyone who wants to learn about the holiday is encouraged to join.

Contact HASA’s secretary Ethan Sanchez at psanchez18@bw.edu to be added to the email list for more information.

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