On October 28th Siena College’s Latinx Student Association hosted a craft night in honor of Día de Los Muertos. The event started at 9:00 pm and students could swipe in with their saint card until 10:30. Día de Los Muertos (English translation: Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the deceased ancestors of a family member or members. The students of the Spanish club used the Sarazen Student Union to celebrate the Day of the Dead and included traditional crafts and foods. Upon entering students were able to decorate traditional skulls with paint and rhinestones as well as color Día de Los Muertos skulls with makers. Along with the skull-shaped crafts, students were encouraged to decorate a pouter frame that was provided for them. The students were to decorate the frame and put a picture of a loved one inside in order to replicate the making of an alter that families do in Mexico to honor their deceased family members. These crafts kept students engaged after they waited in line for an array of traditional Mexican treats.
The Spanish club also included traditional Mexican desserts and candies in order to give students a feel of how the day is celebrated in Mexico. Pan de Muerto was the first treat that was available and this is a Mexican bread cake. Made to be sweet, this dessert is sugary, soft bread that is usually baked with shapes of bones on top. Following the sweet bread treat were conchas. Similar to Pan de Muerto, this sweet bread is served in loaves and decorated with shell-like designs cut into the bread. Lastly, the students were gifted with sopapillas, which are pastries powdered with sugar. Along with the traditional Mexican desserts the students were also offered sugar cookies in the shapes of skulls with colored frosting. The food was provided by Siena College’s own Siena Fresh kitchen.
Dia de Los Muertos is actually a two day holiday in Mexico. In the days leading up to Dia de Los Muertos, many families will create an altar of deceased loved ones to honor during the ceremonies. There are parades and carnivals for the day, and at night families will come together to make traditional food and give offerings to the alters that they have created. The two day holiday is a way for families to gather together and pray and commemorate the people that they have lost. Celebrating their lives is a way to make sure that their family line is never forgotten.
The celebration for Día de Los Muertos was put on in order to give the students a chance to experience a different culture. Día de Los Muertos is not often celebrated in the United States so students who attended the event had the opportunity to see how other counters celebrate their holidays. Because Siena College is a college that prides itself on diversity and differences and this event is a way to allow students to embrace those differences and participate in the diversity that Siena brings to its campus.