Honoring the dead

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), a club that promotes the advancement of Latinos through political movements, hosted the celebration in the Great Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 6 to 10 p.m.

“This event is a gathering of people to bring the students, faculty and staff together so they can celebrate their culture here in the San Fernando Valley,” said MEChA Pierce Chapter President Angelita Rovero.

Day of the Dead is celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. It honors the spirits of the dead, allowing them to come back and visit.

This holiday is widely celebrated in Mexico, parts of Latin America and places with large amounts of people of Mexican ancestry, particularly the United States.

It is celebrated with marigolds, a flower that gathers and guides the spirits of the dead with their vibrant colors and scents, sugar skulls, fruits and nuts and other traditional foods and decorations.

Irene Escalante, a MEChA member, is excited about the event and hopes that it makes an impact on students and allows others to receive a better understanding of the celebration’s true meaning.

“I don’t think many people actually know what Dia De Los Muertos is, and us bringing this event to campus will give people a better idea of why we celebrate this holiday,” Escalante said. “To me, it’s celebrating our fallen people who have passed away.”

The co-presidents of the MEChA club Melissa Robles and Valerie Garcia are assisting with decorations for the event and helping other members prepare for the festival as the day approaches.

“We are going to have different stations at tables with an individual there helping people find important things that go with a specific activity or food available at that station,” Robles said.

Aztec dance group Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc of the San Fernando Valley will perform at the event. The traditional dancing to the beat of drums will bless the event.

Club member Diego Vargas hopes that the ceremony will benefit Pierce. He is glad that Aztec dancers are able to come to the event.

“Having Aztec dancing is very Mexican and indigenous to the Mexican culture. The dancing means that they will be blessing the souls of people who have passed along,” Vargas said. “The people from Pierce who come for the right reasons will be able to feel the music.”

Pan de muerto, also known as Day of the Dead bread, is going to be prepared ahead of time to give away to guests. It is a special sweet bread that originated in Mexico, also known as Day of the Dead bread, with dough usually shaped to look like a skull. The skulls are decorated with colored sugar.

Another item offered to guests is a sweet drink called champurrado that is made out of maize.

There will also be arts and crafts for children that come to the event, and coloring books will be provided to them. There will also be face-painting for a $5 donation that will go toward club activities.

Musical group Cuicani will be performing traditional songs during the celebration. Cuicani is a world/soul band that is committed to being agents of social change. The group sings and produces music with vocal harmonies, and issues happening in the world are promoted in their songs. They will be performing at the festival from 8 to 9 p.m.

There will also be an altar dedicated to 43 missing college students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, that have been missing since 2014. The students were young men who were kidnapped and presumed to have been killed by the Mexican police.

“We wanted to make an altar honoring their memory and to show our support for all the families of the victims from that terrible event,” Rovero said.

Denise Orozco is the newest member of the club and said she hopes that the event will run smoothly. She is glad that the club is a friendly and hardworking group.

“I’m really excited for the event. Everyone has been super friendly and welcoming, and there is a lot of opportunity to grow and learn from them. I hope everything goes well,” Orozco said.