Pierce College students experienced a different cultural view of death on Nov. 1 when Student Programs sponsored a Dia de los Muertos event in the College Center.
Dia de los Muertos is Spanish for “day of the dead.” Although it does recognize death, it’s not intended to be a sad remembrance in Mexican culture. An altar to the dead, traditional to the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos, was set up in the commons.
“Dia de los Muertos is about bringing your family together and remembering those who have passed on,” Sarah Gardner, Student Programs diversity coordinator and organizer of the event, said.
Gardner had been planning this event since August and consulted with the Spanish instructors for ideas for the event.
Students participated in an activity decorating sugar cubes shaped like skulls, and they were able to snack on traditional Dia de los Muertos foods. Pan de muerto, which translates to “bread of the dead,” was served. It’s a sweet soft roll that can be covered in cinnamon sugar.
Students were able to wash the pan de muerto down with a traditional drink called horchata, a sweet rice milk flavored with spices and vanilla.
Learning about other cultures or talking about death can be a challenge, especially when combining the two topics. It can be difficult, but the event seemed to be well embraced by students.
“Around 100 people attended Dia de los Muertos and I got an overall good response from the evaluations,” Gardner said. “A lot of students had heard of Dia de los Muertos but didn’t know much about what the holiday was really about.”
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