Day of the Dead was celebrated at Central Washington University Saturday. Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday dedicated to remembering those that have passed on. It is not a time of mourning, and instead a celebration of life.

The CWU event started with a procession in Dean Hall and ending in the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC). Before the procession entered the SURC, a dance was performed in front of the SURC.

The dance involved a lone drummer in the center of a ring of dancers. The dancers had Ayoyote Seed anklets on, and some held maracas. They danced back and forth around the ring, while the drummer rapped out a beat.

According to CWU Diversity and Equity Assistant Director Verónica Gómez, it is important to dance to remember those who have passed away. She said the purpose of this dance is to ask permission from spirits to begin the festivities.

After the dance, the procession moved to the Ofrenda in the SURC Pit. An Ofrenda is an alter that is usually covered in food and pictures of those who have died.

“We have images of community members from Central as well as maybe family members of staff and faculty who work here or students who want to honor their dead and they put pictures of them on the Ofrenda,” Gómez said.

While at the Ofrenda, the procession danced again to welcome and honor the spirits.

After the Ofrenda, everyone moved upstairs to the SURC Ballroom where they again danced the Death Dance, which, according to Gómez, represents the cycle of life where you are born, eventually you die and then you come back.

“This holiday can be celebrated among everybody because we have all lost someone in our lives, and this is a time where we can come together and remember those you passed away,” Gómez said.

Gómez herself was took part in the ceremony. She was dressed as La Catrina which represents death. Garbed in all black with a veil and wide hat, she said that the figure is a traditional part of the holiday, because she is seen as someone that everyone knows, and will always be around.

CWU’s Día de los Muertos was started with alumni, and it took place in a small room. After Gómez got involved, the celebrations were moved into the much larger space of the SURC Ballroom. This was also when they started inviting people from the community to the event.

The event is family friendly and is open to everyone interested in celebrating and is free of charge.

“I am really excited about it (CWU hosting the celebrations), I think it’s important because when we are able to include a community that has been growing and allow them the to be able to celebrate something that they may be missing from home, and it also allows us to share an important holiday with the other community (members),” Gómez said.

Gómez said that the celebration is held every year at CWU, so if people interested in attending this year were unable to, they are always invited to attend next year.


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