Honoring and celebrating Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, has been
an ongoing tradition for over two decades at the University of Northern Colorado.
According to Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chicana/o and Latinx
Studies, Jonathan Alcántar, Ph.D., the first celebration dates back to 1996 when Emeritus
Professor Priscilla Falcon, Ph.D., incorporated the celebration into the curriculum
of the Introduction to Mexican American Studies class. Since that time, several generations
of students and community members have been part of the celebration, which includes
a vibrant display of altars, honoring loved ones who have passed.
Día de los Muertos is rooted in Mexican culture where death is honored by loved ones
whose family and friends who have died are remembered. It is believed that on Día
de los Muertos, the veil between the real and spirit world is dissolved or thin to
where the dead can visit living family members. Typically, people create colorful altars,
or ofrendas, with different elements that represent important aspects of the way life and death
are understood. The altars are adorned with photographs and the favorite foods and
beverages of departed family members. It is believed that those who are gone will
come back to eat, and the way to bring them back is through remembering them.
This year, UNC’s altar fair, which includes altars from several community groups throughout
Greeley, will be on display from Oct. 30 through Nov. 10 at Campus Commons.
Learn more about this time-honored Mexican Tradition at UNC
This year’s Día de los Muertos altar fair features altars from the Mexican Cultural Center, Tointon Academy,
the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Mexican American Studies
at Greeley West, Greeley Central High School, Frontier Academy, UNC's LULAC, Mexican
American Studies Society (MAS), Brentwood Middle School and the César Chávez Cultural
Center, among others.
– photos and article written by Zvi Gutierrez, the Marketing and Communications Department student writer.