El Dia de Los Muertos, also known in English as Day of the Dead, is a strongly identified traditional Mexican holiday, celebrated from November 1st to the 2nd, every year. People celebrate the relationship between life and death, and those we’ve lost are believed to come home and spend time with their living relatives. Families create ofrendas, or altars, to welcome their loved ones home. These ofrendas are filled with photographs of the deceased and all of their favorite foods and beverages of when they were alive to once again taste once they arrive home. Ofrendas and homes are filled with a multitude of colorful decorations, from papel picado, orange marigolds, candles to a variety of different candy skulls.
Wellesley’s Mezcla organized a Dia de Los Muertos event this past Nov. 2 in Tishman Commons, where they created a grand ofrenda and the Wellesley community could put their loved ones upon it. The event’s speaker, Professor James Oles, explained his limited experience and thoughts of what the holiday was about, and special festivities included performances by Cielito Lindo, music and food. It was nothing like being back home, where you would eat and celebrate with your close family the whole day, but Wellesley and Mezcla were kind to remember and help celebrate their students’ traditions.
Personally, this year, El Dia De Los Muertos hit harder than it did last year. My entire family added four new photographs on all of our ofrendas to welcome them back for their first time. I imagine many people also had to experience the same. While it is true the holiday does bring some sorrow in remembrance of those we’ve lost, we all celebrate instead of mourn. Those who passed are alive in our memories, and continue to live on with our tradition. Our relationship with death is one of love, as love perseveres beyond death.