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Office of Multicultural Affairs
phone: (208) 885-7716
fax: (208) 885-9494
TLC 230
875 Peremeter Drive MS 2439
Moscow, ID 83844-2439

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

The University of Idaho Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration is a traditional Mexican holiday, which is recognized on November 1& 2.  The holiday dates back several centuries and is celebrated over numerous days in Mexico and honors one’s ancestors and loved ones that are deceased.  Indigenous people 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 could return to their homes to visit their relatives. Before the Spaniards arrived, they celebrated the return of the souls between the months of July and August.   Once arrived, the Spaniards changed the festivities to November 2nd to coincide with All Souls’ Day of the Catholic Church.

Presently, two celebrations honoring the memory of loved ones who have died take place: On November 1st, the souls of the children are honored with special designs in the altars, using color white on flowers and candles. On November 2nd the souls of the adults are remembered with a variety of rituals, according to the different states of the Mexican republic.

Students and community members can create group altars, individual altars, and write Calavaras.  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.


Altar ContestsMaking 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 are not strict rules about making an altar. Be creative and make something that looks attractive and is meaningful to you as you remember and honor lost loved ones. Altar registration forms can be obtained by emailing OMA at  Altar Registration forms need to be turned in Monday, October 27, 2014 to Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) 230.

Download Registration Form Here

Calaveras ContestThe word calavera, 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 Friday, October 24, 2014 contact Dr. Lori Celaya

Join us:

El Color de Nuestra Tierra: Indigenous Cultures of Latin America
Date: Saturday, November 1, 2014
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: SUB International Ballroom

12:30-3:30 pm                    Set up
4:30-6:00 pm                      Dinner at St. Auggies
4:00-5:00 pm                      Judging of Altars (Ballroom Closed)
5:00-6:00 pm                      Viewing of altars in Ballroom
6:00-7:00 pm                      Program

Welcome & Introduction
Dance performance
Altar Winners