Students celebrate Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos display
An altar that was created on Nov. 1, 2022, in Iowa Hall for historical Hispanic figures like Cesar Chavez and Roberto Clemente. PHOTO BY MATTHEW BREHM

Tuesday, Nov. 1, Kirkwood’s main campus hosted a Día de los Muertos celebration on the second floor of Iowa Hall during activity hour. An accompanying display included necessary elements of any traditional Día de los Muertos celebration, including an ofrenda covered with symbolic items, papel picado and several cultural foods.  

For those who may not know much about the holiday, Día de los Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 in Latin America and is essentially a time dedicated to celebrating loved ones who have passed away. 

Families will construct ofrendas, or altars, and place on them pictures of deceased relatives. Along with the photos, they will include marigold flowers, their loved ones’ favorite foods and drinks and any other mementos that bring back memories of those family members. By doing so, it is believed that the dead may come back to visit and spend time with the living. Despite its focus on those who have passed, Día de los Muertos is a joyous time for remembering.  

The Kirkwood event was coordinated by Equity in Student Success coaches Alicia Hein and Jacob Ferguson in an effort to make students of all cultural backgrounds feel more welcome. Kirkwood hosts a vast student body, with people of all backgrounds coming together to offer diverse inputs and help each other grow.  

When asked about the significance of Kirkwood celebrating Día de los Muertos, Hein said, “If you’re not someone whose culture typically celebrates Día de los Muertos, you can learn more about it. In the same way, if you’re someone whose culture does celebrate this holiday, then it’s very important that Kirkwood recognizes that and shows that.” 

Image courtesy of Matthew Brehm

Categories: Feature