Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional holiday that originated in Mexico; it is celebrated on November 1 to commemorate the children and November 2 to celebrate the adults. It is not one of my favorite holidays because it reminds me that some of my loved ones are not alive.

Dia de Los Muertos is not Mexican Halloween. The holiday involves families and friends going to pay respects and remember family members and friends who have died. Mexico makes Día de Los Muertos a unique holiday where people decorate their houses with lively colors and beautiful flowers and cook delicious food.

The holiday includes honoring the deceased using sugar skulls and cempazúchitl flowers to build home altars called Ofrendas, and cooking the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The celebration is not only focused on the dead, as it is common to share a traditional pan de muerto with family and friends and write light-hearted and irreverent verses in the form of mock epitaphs dedicated to living friends and family, a literary poem known as Calaveras literarias.

Aquí yace Juan Primero
Que le gustaba la salsa picosa.
Chipotle con habanero
A él le sabía sabrosa.

Por pasarse con la salsa,
El pobre Juan se enchiló.
Le salió humo por las orejas
Y mil veces por agua gritó.

Al escuchar su llanto
Apareció la Pelona,
Quien, buscando almas en pena,
Ya rondaba por esa zona.

“Ya no llores tan profundo,”
Dijo ella sonriendo.
Y lo llevó al inframundo
Donde hoy sigue ardiendo.

Down at the cantina,
they’re shedding big tears—
in mourning because
someone killed a few beers.

To easily understand Día de Los Muertos there are animated movies you can watch, for example, the movie “COCO” and “EL Libro de la Vida.” Some songs you can hear and enjoy are “La Llorona,” “La Bruja,” “COCO” and “Recuerdame,” to mention just a few.

In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Celebrating as a YVC Community

To celebrate this meaningful holiday ASYVC will be holding a Día de Los Muertos event. We will build a campus community ofrenda, have fun activities and also have delicious pan dulce available! This event will be on both November 1 and 2 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the HUB (Yakima) and Student Activity Center (Grandview). Feel free to also bring any pictures or memorable trinkets of your loved ones! Come and help us celebrate and remember all our passed loved ones!