LAHSO celebrates Day of the Dead


Printed with permission of Fernanda Herrera

DAY OF THE BREAD: LAHSO celebrates Día De Los Muertos with a decorated booth and treats available to students and faculty.

Nathan Wang

The Latinx and Hispanic Student Organization (LAHSO) and the Latin American Studies course constructed an altar on the Quad to celebrate Día de los Muertos on Nov. 1. They also organized activities  such as paper skull decorating and shared pan de muerto, a Mexican sweet bread.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead in English, is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the lives and memories of the deceased, according to the Day of the Dead website. It takes place every Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, and traditional celebrations include decorating  altars with pictures of the deceased, their favorite foods and items that represent the lives they lived.

LAHSO Co-Chair Andrea Colmenares-Cifuentes ’24 said the celebration was valuable to students, as it increased awareness about Latin American traditions.

“I think it’s important to share this holiday to further inform and teach the school community about the meaning of significant traditional holidays like Día de los Muertos that are rooted in Latin American cultures,” Colmenares-Cifuentes said. “It was also nice to see members of the school community come together and contribute to the altar that was built.”

LAHSO Faculty Advisor Celso Cárdenas said unlike other holidays honoring the deceased, Día de los Muertos focuses on life instead of death.

“While we normally associate a feeling of solemn and sorrow with death, el Día de los Muertos helps us remember the joy there is in life,” Cárdenas said. “We take time to remember our loved ones who have passed without focusing on their deaths but instead focusing on their lives [and] the incredible contributions they made while they were here and the joy and love they brought us.”

Cárdenas said he appreciates how commemorating Día de los Muertos can bring the Latin American community together.

“My parents did not celebrate Día de los Muertos growing up,” Cárdenas said. “It is something that became more a part of my life in high school and college when I was involved with Latino affinity groups. It became a very powerful way to connect with my culture and bring it to people who were coming from different backgrounds. Now, as an adult, I do set up an altar to remember loved ones and I take time to reflect on the great blessings I have been afforded in this life.”

LAHSO member Andrea Cruz-Vázquez ’25 said her family’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration helps her connect to her heritage.

“I celebrate Día de los Muertos with my family and we typically have an altar that we decorate with flowers and embroidered mantels along with pictures of our loved ones who have passed away,” Vázquez said. “They also make me feel more connected to my roots and culture.”