On Friday, Trinity will celebrate the Day of the Dead with an altar ceremony honoring the dead and a series of short lectures about the history of the celebration.
“The TU Latino Association is having an altar celebration this friday at 4 p.m., and [Rosana] Blanco-Cano and [Norma Elia] Cantu are going to give a speech about the altar and what the Dia de los Muertos really is and what it means in the Mexican culture. We really want to show everyone Latino culture and tradition. We hope that people will see it, be interested, and want to know more both about individual cultures and about Latino cultures in general,” said Diana Chavarria, president of TU Latino Association.
The celebration originally comes from Spain, and a discussion of its origins will begin a series of lectures on the holiday.
“The first speaker will be Juan Carlos Moreno from Casa de España. He will be talking about the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Spain. It was originally an official celebration that marks a day in which people from the other world are supposed to visit. It’s also a very religious celebration. There is a religious component to it as well: Dia de todos los santos, The Day of All the Saints, as if all the people who are dead already are considered saints or sacred people,” said Rosana Blanco-Cano, professor of modern languages and chair of the MAS program.
The second and third lectures will discuss the evolution of the celebration and the meaning of the celebration in Mexico today.
“The second speaker will be talking about the precolonial traditions that Spaniards encountered when coming to the Americas. It’s fascinating because instead of being erased by colonial ideologies, there is a syncretism, and we now have both in present Mexico. That will be what I talk about in my role as the third speaker. I’m going to be talking about what is the meaning of the celebration in today’s Mexico and in the US,” Blanco-Cano said.
Celebration of Dia de los Muertos gives people the opportunity to relate to and gain understanding of Latino culture.
“I grew up in El Paso, and it’s celebrated pretty widely there. I may not be Hispanic or Latino, but I always really enjoyed the holiday and thought it was a really interesting event. The altars are always colorful, people decorate these candy skulls, and it just seems like a good way to honor your loved ones in a positive way without being sad,” said Kara McLean, sophomore accounting major.
While the altar of Dia de los Muertos is a place to be respectful, it is also a part of a larger celebration. All are welcome at the event.
“It’s a moment to enjoy, to be witness, to be respectful. It’s a very important aspect of our culture, but we want everyone to feel welcome. It’s an inclusive celebration. On Friday, when the altar is officially open, people are welcome to walk by it and see it. It’s a contemplative moment. It’s a moment to reflect, but also to enjoy, without being too serious,” Blanco-Cano said.
This celebration brings people together, provides a way for Latinos at Trinity to express their culture and recognize our role in the city.
“It is to acknowledge, in some ways, our connection to the city. If you walk around San Antonio, you will see several altars. First, I think we need to acknowledge that we are a part of San Antonio. In addition, it’s important to give our Latino students a place to express their culture. Every community should be able to express their own ways of celebrating, etc.,” Blanco-Cano said.