MEXICO (Photo courtesy of Lhoycel Teope/Freelance)
Saddleback College’s International Languages department hosting the Dia de Los Muertos, a Day of the Dead celebration on Wed, Nov. 2 at 6:00p.m., where they had presentations about different countries who celebrate their own version of Day of the Dead around the world.
“Dia de los Muertos is an amazing time to celebrate those that are not here,” said Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, the director of the international languages department.
One of the tables had candles and pictures of loved ones that passed and another table had marigold flowers, candies, and little miniature statues representing the loved ones that passed onto the afterlife.
The tables were not just filled with flowers and candy, but there was traditional holiday food. There were beef tamales, re-fried beans, and Mexican rice. For beverages, there was a drink called horchata, which is a cinnamon rice milk.
And for dessert, there was a sweet bread, Pan de Muerto, which is enjoyed by the families of the deceased during Dia de los Muertos.
All of the instructors from the department all came together at this celebration because they all wanted to honor those that are no longer living. It was not just Dia de los Muertos that was celebrated, the dead are honored on holidays all around the world.
It was not just the dead that were honored, there was a presentation from ACLAMO club or Ayudando Chicano Latinos A Mover Obstaculos club, by letting fellow Saddleback College students know about not just the day of the dead celebration, but also about the Dream Act.
The California Dream Act gives undocumented AB540 students to be able to apply and compete for institutional financial aid to be able to go to public colleges and universities.
Another holiday that is celebrated the same but in a different culture is called Ii Giormo de Morti or All Soul’s Day.
All Soul’s Day is a Christian religious holiday that is celebrated in Italy on Nov. 2 every year just like the Day of the Dead. It is known to gather with friends and family and celebrate life and the loved ones that have passed.
This is a time for families to bring fresh flowers, mostly chrysanthemums, to the tombs of their departed loved ones. These flowers are the traditional flower on All Soul’s Day and it represents death.
Another interesting fact is that on All Soul’s Day, the souls of the departed visit the homes of the loved ones that were left behind in the living world to watch over them.
The Day of the dead celebration also included a lecture about Togo, Africa and how they also celebrate the dead. It is believed that when someone dies, they are reincarnated over and over again after each life spent.
In China, two main holidays celebrate the dead and they are Tomb Sweeping Day that happens on April 5 and the Ghost Festival that happens on July 15.
Among Chinese, the Ghost Festival and Tomb Sweeping Days are times to honor ancestors and appease ghosts and spirits of the dead. It’s all part of the traditions and superstitions in the Chinese culture.
Ghost Sweeping Day is for honoring ancestors and to make sure they are happy in the after world. Ancestor worship includes cleaning and sweeping of their graves, offerings of food, normally fruits, buns and sweets, and burning of incense.
It is also common to burn other offerings, specially “ghost money.” The belief is that by burning something, the essence of the burnt element is transferred to the spirit world, where it can be used by the dead.
Finally, the best part of the celebration was that everyone was together to celebrate a holiday to honor those that are no longer here with us.
Want more information about Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, go to http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dead/articles/dead-history.html#ixzz1cL6W6S9G.
To know more about the Dream Act and the other state laws representing undocumented students go to http://www.istillhaveadream.org.