Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar making
The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar-making event took place in the Millet Hall Multicultural Lounge Monday. The event featured instructions on making altars for the Mexican religious holiday, given by Wright State Alumnus and local artist Gabriella Pickett.
Día de los Muertos is meant to honor the souls of the dead, according to Mai Nguyen, director of the Asian/Hispanic/Native American center.
“The meaning of Day of the Dead is to honor those who have died, and welcome their spirits back to earth for a visit,” said Nguyen. “It is believed that October 31 is the first day when the gates of Heaven and Hell will be opened for the angelitos, or the little angels, to come and roam the earth first. Then the second day, the gates of heaven and hell will be opened for the adults to roam the earth.”
The altars are set up in remembrance of loved ones and often include specific items special to the honored family member.
“The altar will usually have masks, marigolds, a photo of the deceased one and foods they enjoyed the most when they were alive,” Nguyen said. “For children, their favorite toys will be put on the altar, so anything that will honor your loved ones can be included.”
Although Día de los Muertos and Halloween are celebrated around the same time each year, the two holidays celebrate different ideas.
“It’s not as morbid as it sounds,” said Nguyen. “It’s festive, it’s colorful and it’s joyful. It’s like a celebration of rebirth. You remember [your ancestors] once a year during this day, you cook their special foods, you tell stories of when they were alive to children and relatives.”
Graduate public history major Karis Raeburn said she enjoyed the exposure the event gave to different lifestyles.
“I think that anything that educates people about a different culture is really good,” said Raeburn. “I came to Wright State from a different culture and I think it’s nice to learn about new things and share them with each other.”
Annabelle McGee, a senior biology major, agreed.
“It’s more of a cultural experience and something to broaden their views. I think it was good,” McGee said.