Fullerton College will be hosting the 25th anniversary of Dia De Los Muertos at the quad on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6 p. m. to 9 p.m. The campus expects thousands of people to come out and enjoy the free event that will be colorfully lit with decorations and altars.
Dia De los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday that lasts Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Unlike the meaning of death in Halloween, Day of the Dead is meant to show reverence and celebrate the life of loved ones who have passed away.
The holiday originated in Mexico, but is celebrated all over Latin America and the United States. People honor their loved ones by creating altars and welcoming them back to the realm of the living with offerings, also known as ofrendas. Ofrendas are uniquely handmade and typically will have things such as marigold flowers, food, photos, personal belongings, pan de muertos, which is bread of the dead, and anything else that significantly represents a passed loved one.
“In support of Dia de los Muertos, the Cadena Cultural center has draped from the library ceiling Picado, which is handmade decorated tissue papers, and set up an instructional ofrenda to show people what many of the offerings symbolize,” said Vincent White, Cadena Cultural center coordinator.
Various clubs and organizations will be participating as well as performing at this event. These clubs include Puente Club, MeCHA, UMOJA, FC Sign Language Club, Sociology Club, Social Justice Coalition, Queer People of Color, and other Fullerton community programs. There will be entertainment, food, art and a night full of festivities.
Starting a new tradition, the ethnic studies department will feature a community altar centerpiece that people can place photos or offerings to. This altar is dedicated to the 1945 federal court case, Mendez v. Westminster, which challenged school segregation and fought for the equal rights of Mexican-American students in Orange County.
Since 1994, this event has been organized by Gerald Padilla and staff from the ethnic studies department. Padilla recently retired last year and therefore has passed on the event to the chair of the ethnic studies department, Dr. Amber Rose Gonzalez.