Campus club to celebrate Dia de los Muertos


Erika Martinez,
Staff Writer

On Nov. 2, an on-campus club, Students United in Solidarity, will host a Dia de Los Muertos Community Altar event in front of the Old Union and New Union from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In effort to educate students on the holiday while also discussing issues of cultural appropriation, Students United in Solidarity will be arranging a community altar decorated with cempasuchil marigolds, candles, calaveras [decorated skulls], and pictures of deceased family and friends. The ceremony is open to all. Students and faculty may bring pictures of deceased loved ones to place on the altar.

There will also be free pan de muerto [traditional bread] and hot chocolate, along with homemade candles for sale. Funds raised from the candles will be donated to a scholarship the club is developing.

Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican holiday commemorating the deceased that lasts three days, beginning on Oct. 31 and concluding Nov. 2. It was started by the Mexicans and Aztecs, and over time, due to colonization, has syncretized with both indigenous beliefs and Christianity.

The holiday symbolizes a celebration of life and allows the living to reconnect with their deceased loved ones. As part of the tradition, the marigolds’ fragrance and color act as a guide for departed souls, which lead them home to their family’s altar.

It is a way to show the dead that they have not been forgotten and their altars are filled with food and colorful decorations. The decorated skulls, often made from clay or sugar, represent a soul.

Students United in Solidarity became an official club at CSU East Bay over the summer, thanks in large part to students from the Ethnic Studies Department.

The club’s mission is to bring awareness to social issues that are affecting the community, focusing on intersectionality and creating a sense of unity and solidarity between all students. The club is also working on fundraising money for a scholarship for students in need.

Students United in Solidarity meet every Tuesday or Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ethnic Studies Lounge in Meiklejohn Hall, room 4105. Students with questions or who have an interest in joining the club are encouraged to direct their emails to: [email protected]