Oregon State University celebrates Día de los Muertos


Matthew McKenna

First year business administration major, Ismael Rodriguez, smiles deeply as he impresses himself with his finger plucked mexican guitar at the Dia de los Muertos night at the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws Nov. 2. Rodriguez has played some guitar before this event, but was very nervous to play for so many people.

Jorge Nader, News Contributor

Día de los Muertos is a tradition of Latin-American origin celebrated on November 1 and 2 in countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Perú and Guatemala among others.

This year Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws and El Centro Cultural César Chávez collaborated to bring Oregon State University students and the Corvallis community the experience of an authentic Día de Los Muertos.

“Here at the Ina Haws we want people to know that we celebrate indigeneity everywhere and with this collaboration we wanted to spread that awareness” said Maia Barnes Leadership Liaison of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws.

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In Día de los Muertos, people commemorate family and friends that had passed away by making them an altar with offerings called ofrendas, said altars are usually ornamented with items that represents the person that is being remembered, such as their pictures, favorite food, clothes or gadgets. 

Most altars also implement flower arrangements with Cempazúchitl also known as the Aztec Marigold as their centerpiece; this orange colored flower represents the sun and was traditionally used to guide the souls of the dead to the altar. 

Multiple traditional activities were featured on this event from live music performed by OSU students and sugar skull painting to Loteria games which is a traditional Mexican board game. 

“We have a station where you can write letters to those who have passed and put them on the altar, we have sugar skull painting that you can paint with frosting and you can also put those on the altars, we also have face painting,” said Barnes.

Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws and El Centro Cultural César Chávez put special effort into creating activities that not just entertained the attendees but also educated them about the meaning and cultural significance of the Día de los Muertos.

And their hard work paid off as they had record attendance of around 363 people according to Fawn Harris who is a Leadership Liaison of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws.

“There is a lot of community building, many students come here and see this traditions that they may not know but by being with their friends they get to understand the meaning of this celebration, to me this is the scene of this celebration” said Sharon Salgado Martinez international graduate student from Mexico that is pursuing a Master’s Degree In History at OSU. 

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