Corporate Center Goes All Out For La Dia De Los Muertos


Mini alters celebrate the dead for Dia De Los Muertos.

Monique Irish, Cactus Staff Writer

If one wandered into the CAC corporate center on Saturday, October 25, 2014 between the hours of 9 a.m.- 2 p.m., they would have observed an abundance of skull themed paraphernalia all over the place, thanks to the annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration. Students enrolled in Spanish classes were highly encouraged to take part in the most important of Hispanic traditions/holidays, but the event welcomed all of those interested. Arts and Crafts supplies were available for participants to decorate cookie shaped skulls as well as to create altars to honor loved ones who have passed away. The main purpose of the holiday is to remember, as well as celebrate the lives to those who have died, and that is why participants created altars.  Altars featured pictures as well as personal items of the deceased, while using brightly colored tissue paper to decorate them and add a little “life” to them. Altars are a huge part of the Dia De Los Muertos tradition.

The holiday of La Dia De Los Muertos is traditionally celebrated in our neighboring country of Mexico, but has integrated quite smoothly into the southwest culture; especially so within southern Arizona where the Hispanic population and culture is abundant. It literally translates to the day of the dead, thus the purpose of the holiday is to remember and honor our loved ones who have passed away, preventing them from dying their third death. According to the Mexican Legend it is believed that when we die, we die three deaths: the first is the death we are most familiar with when the bodily functions cease and the soul leaves the body. When the body is buried, cremated, disposed of and returned back to the earth, it is believed to be the second death. The third, most conclusive and tragic death is believed to occur when people stop remembering the dead, which is why this it is such an adorned and highly emphasized celebration.

It is believed that the spirits of our dead come to visit the living on the 31st of November and do not leave until November 2, which is officially known as the Day of the Dead. Spirits are warmly welcomed by their living relatives, who light candles for them and put out all kinds of goods for the deceased to enjoy whether it was things they liked when they were alive and/or the traditional Pan de muertos (“bread of the dead”) are placed among the altars or at their grave. Sugar skulls, one of the most iconic features of La Dia De Los Muertos are almost sure to be seen on altars as well as enjoyed by the living. They are used to represent death and the afterlife. Marigolds (“the flowers of the dead”) are used to draw in the spirits with their sweet fragrance as well as incense called copal which is dried tree resin, and is also used to draw in the deceased. These are just some of the common traditions that come with this increasingly popular holiday/tradition.}