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Dia De Los Muertes at UIS

On Nov. 2, UIS saw its annual Día de Los Muertos event occur. This year it took place in the Logan Residence Hall great room, and included a beautiful performance from Baile Monarcas: Latin Dance, which is the Latin dance group at UIS.

Before diving into the event, it is important to know what Día de Los Muertos is. Día de Los Muertos is a multiple-day holiday originating from Mexico and then spreading to the rest of the world. This celebration ranges for multiple days generally starting on Oct, 27 and ending on Nov. 2. In order to celebrate, it is a custom to build an alter and fill it with marigolds (which are the flower of the dead), the deceased’s favorite dishes, candles, incense and other things of importance either to the deceased or family members. This can include things like toys, or other enticements, lastly it includes picture of deceased family members and even pets. Now while reading this, one might think that this is a somber holiday – but that is far away from reality! Día de Los Muertos is a huge celebration in which families celebrate life and use it as a time to remember passed family members, pets, friends or even strangers that don’t have people to remember them. These days are seen as a time to reunite with the souls of those who have left us and honor their memory and life.

As mentioned, this celebration is a multiple day celebration with the biggest and most recognized days being Nov. 1 and 2 but in reality, the alter honoring celebration begins on Oct. 27 when we remember and honor the souls of passed pets. Next is Oct. 28, when we remember the souls of those who were murdered or died in a very violent way. Next, on Oct. 29, we remember the souls of those who died from drowning. On Oct. 30 and 31we honor the souls of children who died without being baptized as well as the souls who have been forgotten. On Nov. 1, we honor the souls of passed children. And lastly, Día De Los Muertos ends on Nov. 2, honoring all souls that have passed.

As mentioned, above, this year La Familia and the Diversity Center hosted the Día De Los Muertos event on Nov. 2, which included a beautiful performance from Baile Monarcas, an incredible Folkloric number to the songs La Martiniana and La Sandunga, and an energetic salsa number to the song “La Vida es un Carnaval.” These dances are both to traditional styles honoring the overall culture of the celebration with the folkloric number representing the passing of the souls into the realm of the dead with interactions with a Catrina/Catrin which are symbols of the celebration. The salsa dance represents the joy and celebration that are believed to occur in the realm of the dead and throughout Dia De Los Muertos. This performance was repeated at the Illinois State Museum on Sat., Nov. 4 for their Dia De Los Muertos family day. Overall, this event is incredibly important to have, especially on campus, as it helps celebrate such an important cultural event important for many Latin students.

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