The Commerce Journal

October 30, 2012

University gears up to celebrate the Day of the Dead

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Nov. 1 may be the day after Halloween, but Texas A&M University-Commerce students still have a chance for a thrill at the Day of the Dead Festival that evening from 5 to 8 p.m. in the amphitheater. El Dia de los Muertos, a traditional Latin American holiday, is much more than simply the “Mexican Halloween,” according to Coordinator of Hispanic Outreach & Student Programs Gilberto Hernandez.

“We will have a speaker at the event that will elaborate on the fact that the holiday is not the Mexican Halloween, but rather a day to honor those that have passed away,” he said.

The event will begin with a performance by the Fusion Dance Crew, and will include arts and craft activities. A&M-Commerce students will be able to create sugar skulls, tissue paper flowers (papel picado) or have their faces painted. Traditional Latin American foods, such as hot chocolate and sweat bread, will also be served. The event is also open to the Commerce community.

“I think one of the main focuses of programs of this nature is to focus on educating student body in regards to what images in film and art related to El Dia de los Muertos mean,” Hernandez said. “We want to make sure people know what these famous images entail when they see them.”

According to the event’s facebook page, El Dia de los Muertos is a traditional indigenous Mexican tradition that falls on Nov. 2.

“It has a background in Mexican folklore and tradition, but should not be confused as a ‘Mexican Halloween,’” the site reads. “This yearly tradition began with native Mexican tribes who learned to celebrate death, rather than fearing it. The tradition continues today, and families typically visit cemeteries during the day to make offerings (food/drink), and place marigolds at gravesites of deceased loved ones. Altars, or “Ofrendas,” are also built and decorated with significant objects once valued by departed relatives.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/dayofthedeadfesitvalincommerce. The event is sponsored by the Hispanic Student Association, A Space Art Gallery in downtown Commerce, the Office of Hispanic Outreach & Student Programs and the A&M-Commerce Art Club.