Chicano Studies creates Day of the Dead altar in LRC


Notes, photos, drinks, and food for deceased loved ones are left at the decorated altar constructed by Chicano Studies in the LRC. Photo Credit: Shaina Borg

Shaina Borg, Staff Writer

In celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), several Mesa College Chicano studies classes created an altar for the deceased near the entrance of the Learning Resource Center (LRC). All students and faculty are invited to celebrate Dia de los Muertos by leaving notes or a photo of a deceased loved one on the altar.

“We created this altar display to invite Mesa community members to celebrate the Day of the Dead together by writing notes to loved ones who are no longer with us. We invite all students and faculty to contribute to the altar” said Olivia Quintanilla, Adjunct Professor, Chicano Studies.

Originating from Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated with food, drink and festivities that the deceased enjoyed in life. Commonly associated with the celebration are sugar skulls, marigolds, butterflies, bread, and colorful perforated paper. Temporary ofrendas, or altars are constructed and decorated, allowing the living to leave offerings of the favorite food and/or drink of the deceased, as well as photos and notes. It is believed that the spirits return to enjoy the treats left for them at the altar.

According to a Chicano Studies at Mesa College Facebook post about the celebration, “It is not about mourning; it is a remembrance, a celebration of life and reflection of mortality.”

Coincidentally, Dia de los Muertos begins the same day as Halloween; however, the two are not related. Dia de los Muertos begins Oct. 31 and ends Nov. 2. Pens and paper have been left at the altar for those that would like to leave a note. Items left at the altar will need to be retrieved by Nov. 3 before the altar is taken down.