Wednesday afternoon, Auburn’s Latinx Student Alliance and University Program Council partnered to host a celebration of Día de Los Muertos. Auburn students gathered on the campus green for traditional Mexican food, hot cocoa, bingo and a movie.
The holiday is typically celebrated by people of Mexican heritage as a way to remember and honor loved ones who have died.
“It’s a way to connect yourself with your ancestors and honor them,” said Dioselin Cruz, sophomore in history and president of the Latinx Student Alliance.
Cruz assisted in planning the event along with the rest of the club’s committee.
Tables were set up around the field where students could drink hot chocolate and eat conchas, a Mexican sweet bread. Students could enjoy these treats while watching the popular Pixar movie “Coco” and playing lotería with their friends.
Lotería is a traditional Mexican card game similar to bingo. An announcer draws from a deck of cards while players try and match the cards to pictures on their board.
At the front, an ofrenda was set up with pictures of loved ones and decorated with various treats and flowers. An ofrenda is an alter set up in one's home to honor their loved ones, and usually contain pictures, treats, flowers and other offerings for the deceased.
“We have a display of the ofrenda, to help you have a real-life connection to it… it’s not just a movie that you see…but a special holiday with real people,” Cruz said.
Other members of the club in attendance expressed how the event was a step in the right direction for spreading campus culture.
“I would say that given the stigma there's around a lot of Latinos and especially Mexicans regarding where they are, where they come from, where they work, their stereotypes, this is a way for us to show people that we're all around you, even in places that you don't [or] wouldn't expect, ” said Angela Jaimes, junior in animal sciences and treasurer of LSA. “We’re people like them, we study hard, we get into these amazing universities. We’re not just a group of people to put a title on.”
As a result of events like this, many Latinx students have felt more welcome and accepted on campus. The club aims to allow Latinx students to have a safe space on campus while being able to spread their culture to others.
“I remember my freshman year I was kind of like ‘where is everybody?’ After [joining] LSA, you spark conversations easier so I think it’s kind of beautiful to see the organization and Auburn doing stuff like this,” said David De Jesus, sophomore in civil engineering and secretary of the club.
Many students in attendance were excited to explore a culture they knew little about or was different than their own.
“Even though I'm not Hispanic or have any connection to Mexican history, I’ve always loved Día de Los Muertos. I’ve lost a good handful of people in my life and so having this sort of day to like, remember, and just have fun remembering them is so beautiful to me,” said Megan Dodd, junior in industrial engineering.
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Diane Pham, freshman in industrial engineering, is a news writer at The Plainsman.