Skulls and Flowers Fill Austin in Honor of Day of the Dead
By Oihane Ochoa Navarro
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – The end of October brings a celebration of Halloween for many, but for others, a more important celebration begins the next day at the start of November.
As Mexican tradition dictates, Dia de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead — is a date on which loved ones who are no longer with us return to visit.
“We make ofrendas, altars, to celebrate the loves that have passed away. We celebrate their lives and the time we passed together. Even [though] they are gone we always have a piece of them with us,” said Gabriela Sobrevilla, a Mexican-American student.
Several Latino student associations, such as the Mexican American Culture Committee (MACC) and the Latin Economics and Business Association (LEBA), announced events to celebrate this special holiday and offer Latinos an opportunity to spend this intimate and familiar day together.
Sobrevilla said it was nice to celebrate with others.
“I come from a really small town on the border but when you come to Austin, to a big university, there is a bunch of diversity so you may feel loneliness, that none understands how you have grown up in your culture,” she said. “But these events are a way to find people from your community, who celebrate the same things as you.”
Tradition explains that an altar should be created with photos of the deceased, cempasúchil flowers, and the deceased’s favorite food and objects. It is a way of welcoming them back to feel at home.
“We try to make them feel more comfortable being away from home. People may have had making ofrendas going up so they can make their own or just to celebrate the event and the holiday,” MACC chair Kyara Huichapa said.
Mexican students at the MACC event on Nov. 1. were able to color a representation of an altar and then place a photo on it. They also ate, drank and immortalized the moment with an instant photo machine.
“Día de los Muertos is a very happy and celebratory time and I think everybody should have that experience.” said Arely Flores, a Mexican student.
On Nov. 2, the Hispanic Business Student Association collaborated with LEBA to offer tamales throughout the day in front of Gregory Gym. They also created a large altar in the middle of the plaza so people could place their own ofrendas next to portraits of famous Mexicans.
In addition, the Mexic-Arte Museum organized the “Viva la Vida” parade on October 29 for the 39th consecutive year. The festival flooded the streets of Austin throughout the day with traditional food booths, local craft workshops, costumes and make-up for children.