The yearly Latin celebration - Day of the Dead - is a chance for families to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have passed - through colorful costumes, lively music and an offering of food. Held for the first time on the Utah State University campus, students celebrated the tradition.
While some celebrations are held in homes, and others in brick and stone lined plaza - at USU, the gathering was in the ballroom. Booths lined the walls where vibrant colored flowers, candles, and favorite foods were on display - an altar in honor of a loved one passed.
“You put it up and it has three tiers," Chewy Garcia said. "And the tiers represent the different things of the person. So the bottom just has candles, flowers, just really simple things that almost every altar has. And it has a lot of different color. And then the second tier has things that the person liked - just anything that represents them. The third tier is just the picture.”
Chewy Garcia coordinated the event along with the Latino Student Union, Native American Council, Love is For Everyone and the Polynesian Club. They saw this as one way to respect mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles and even siblings who have passed away. They believe that this event can bring together different cultures.
“It’s just all about that," Garcia said. "It’s celebrating the person’s life. It’s celebrating the person’s memories. You’re doing it in honor of them. And it’s part of the culture that we are trying to show and educate them on.”
Near the front of the room, there is a wall where you can post notes or share a thought. Next to the wall there is a group of face painters using colorful oils.
“They’re painting half your face to look like a skull," Garcia said. "What it resembles is when the spirit of the person you are remembering - that spirit is being invited through your altar - it’s bringing their spirit to the living world. That spirit doesn’t know the difference between the dead world and the living world. Why people paint their face is to show both their sides, so they’re still living but they honor the dead.”