Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
October 15, 2012 - November 8, 2012
Download the Poster here
3:00pm - 5:00pm
3:30pm - 4:00pm Duet De Colores
4:00pm - 4:30pm Dance Group Ballet Sonatlan
4:30pm - 5:00pm Duet De Colores
Light refreshments will be served
October 18, 2012
DAY of THE DEAD
1:30pm - 3:00pm
Student Activity center, Bertollini Hall
Many indigenous societies of Mesoamerica had celebrated death, rather than fear it, for millenia prior to European contact. History instructor, Laura Larque, will speak about indigenous ceremonies dedicated to the dead and rituals associated with them.
3:30pm - 5:00pm
Papel Picado and decorate sugar skulls
El Dia de Los Muertos
November 1, 2012
Join the museum in celebration! Aztec dance group, Coyolxauhqui, will perform and lead procession around campus. Add a photo or memory of a loved one to the community altar!
WHAT IS DIA de LOS MUERTOS?
Every year, on November 1st (All Saints Day) and 2nd (All Souls Day), something unique takes place in many areas of Mexico: Day of the Dead festivities. While it may seem strange for many of us to accept the fact that "death" and "festivities" can go hand-in-hand, for most Mexicans, the two are intricately entwined. The day stems from the cultural traditions of ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico who believed that the souls of the dead return each year to visit with their living relatives .
The original celebration can be traced to the festivities held during the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, ritually presided by the goddess Mictecacihuatl ("Lady of the Dead"), and dedicated to children and the dead. The rituals during this month also featured a festivity dedicated to the major Aztec war deity, Huitzilopochtli ("Sinister Hummingbird"). In the Aztec calendar, this ritual fell roughly at the end of the Gregorian month of July and the beginning of August, but was moved by Spanish priests so that it coincided with the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve. The result is that Mexicans now celebrate the day of the dead during the first two days of November, rather than at the beginning of summer
Loved ones are honored with displays of the departed's favorite food and drinks, as well as ornamental and personal belongings. Flowers, particularly the Cempazúchitl (an Indian word for a special type of marigold) and candles, are placed on the graves and altars to guide the spirits home.
This may all seem morbid and somewhat ghoulish to those who are not part of that culture. But, for Mexicans who believe in the life/death/rebirth continuum, it's all very natural. This is not to say that death is treated lightly. It is recognized, mocked, and even defied. Death is part of life and, as such, it's representative of the Mexican spirit and tradition which says: "Don't take anything lying down - even death!"
WHAT DIA de LOS Muertos is NOT
El Dia de Los Muertos is NOT a Halloween celebration. The ancient roots of Halloween are quite different from those of the Aztecs.
Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter. Winter was a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
By 43 CE, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.
By 800 CE, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.