A Celebration of Loved Ones

Delinah Rosario, Opinions Editor

Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an ancient Mesoamerican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and Central America by remembering those who have passed. The holiday is now celebrated throughout the world. Altars are used as ways to honor the lives of those who have passed and can include things such as food offerings or personal ideas to remember the departed. Dia De Los Muertos is an autumn holiday of mourning as well as celebration.

Some definitive symbols are used frequently such as Calaveras (skulls); often shown as edible, decorative sugar skulls, and papel picado, which are colorful papers with intricate cut-out designs. Dia De Los Muertos is observed over two days every year, Nov. 1 and 2. It’s a time for people to mourn family members and friends to ensure that they are never forgotten.

FGCU Housing and Residence Life will be hosting a celebration event in North Lake Village Groves Point on Nov. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for faculty, staff, and students. Residents can come to pay tribute to loved ones with custom-made Ofrendas. They will also be able to take part in enjoying festive food, music, performances and tabling. The event will be held to educate the FGCU community on how the Latino holiday is celebrated and why. Don’t be hesitant to come out and take a moment to engage in the celebration.

Although the holiday itself has changed over the millennia, the moment to honor ancestors and those who have gone into the spirit world has not. It emerged from an Aztec ritual known as Miccaihuitl, which was honoring the dead as well as being a time for harvesting. It was a moment to recognize the seasonal change from light to dark as we transition into autumn.

Many people argue that if you remember the lost, they never cease to exist. When creating an altar for a loved one, it’s essential to have a photo of the deceased, their favorite foods, and flowers. You can also include a representation of the four elements. A candle or incense for fire, a cup of water and the wind and earth may be represented by the papel picado. Some people may go to a cemetery to make an altar whereas others celebrate their loved ones in their homes. In those days, you spend time with those memories. You also take time to bring closure to the ceremony at the end of the two days to tie together that moment with those ancestors who are no longer here.

Dia De Los Muertos provides a way to sort of normalize the cycle of life we live in. It’s not easy losing someone you love or someone close to you, but unfortunately, it happens, that’s life. Moments like this provide a way to honor those who have come and gone. Take a moment to celebrate those in your life and celebrate those who may have impacted you and may no longer be here.