Dia De Los Muertos "Day of the Dead" Altar and Calaveras Contests

Wednesday, October 3 2012


The University of Idaho Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration is a traditional Mexican holiday that takes place on Nov. 1-2. The holiday dates back several centuries and is celebrated over numerous days in Mexico. During these days, Mexicans from different faiths and cultural backgrounds honor their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Indigenous people for centuries believed that souls did not die, that they continued living in Mictlán, a special place to rest. In this place, the spirits rest until the day they were allowed to return to their homes to visit their relatives. Before the Spaniards arrived, people celebrated the return of the souls between the months of July and August. Once they arrived, the Spaniards changed the festivities to Nov. 2 to coincide with All Souls’ Day of the Catholic Church.

Nowadays, two celebrations honoring the memory of loved ones who have died take place: On Nov. 1, the souls of the children are honored with special designs in the altars, using the color white on flowers and candles. On Nov. 2 the souls of the adults are remembered with a variety of rituals, according to the different states of the Mexican republic. To celebrate this historical event at the University of Idaho, students and community members have the opportunity to create group altars, individual altars and write popular Calaveras. The altars will be displayed on campus to educate the University of Idaho community of this Mexican tradition and to honor those represented by the altars. Prizes will be given to the best altars and Calaveras.

Altar Contests:
Making a Day of the Dead altar can be a way for you to honor the life of someone who was important to you, or remember your ancestors. There aren’t strict rules about making an altar. Be creative and make something that looks attractive and is meaningful to you. The point of making an altar is to remember and honor lost loved ones. Altar registration forms can be obtained by emailing Alysha Van Zante at vanz3122@vandals.uidaho.edu or OMA at oma@uidaho.edu. Altar Registration forms need to be turned in Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 to Administration Building room 314.

Calaveras Contest:
The word CALAVERAS, Spanish for "skull" are short poems created during the “Day of the Dead” celebration. Calaveras are festive, satirical poems in the form of an epigram criticizing well-known individuals who are very much alive. The poems describe how the person died and what his or her afterlife will be like. Calaveras are also used to describe a political or social event. For example, someone can write a Calavera honoring a popular singer, the iPad, a Mexican muralist or a writer: the possibilities are endless. Deadline to submit your Calaveras is Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2012 contact Lori Celaya lcelaya@uidaho.edu.

Tentative Itinerary-Nov. 1

• 12:30-3:30 p.m. set up altars in SUB Ballroom
• 5-7 p.m. Cena de Dia de los Muertos-Dinner at St. Augustine’s Dinning Hall-across from the Student Union Building (Sponsored by Multicultural Greek Council) $7 per plate.
• 5-7 p.m. Mingling, viewing of altars SUB Ballroom
• 7-8 p.m. Welcome, presentation on Dia de los Muertos, Play: “La Llorona,” reading of the top Calaveras, dance performances, awarding of the top group and individual altars and closing, SUB Ballroom
• 8-11 p.m. Dia de los Muertos Dance, SUB Ballroom

For more information contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at oma@uidaho.edu visit www.uidaho.edu/oma or find us on Facebook: University of Idaho Dia de los Muertos Celebration.