Dia de Los Muertos festival celebrates memories of loved ones

By Jade Inglada

Students and members of the community were welcomed to honor and celebrate their loved ones during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival on Nov. 3.

The Dia de los Muertos festival was sponsored by the Associated Student Union and supported by the Chicano Studies Department and Wish Upon an Angel Foundation.

Chicano Studies Professor Angelita Rovero, who is the organizer of the event and who founded it three years ago, said she wanted to keep the celebration alive and bring awareness to students who don’t know a lot about the tradition.

“El Dia De Los Muertos is a celebration for life of the death,” Rovero said.

Ballet Folklorico Cuauhtli and an Aztec dance group performed for attendees. The festival also featured musical performances from Conjunto Los Pochos, Domingo Siete, Quinto Sol and Viento Callejero.

More than 40 booths participated this year, which included school clubs, non-profit organizations and vendors. “The idea is to make the festival bigger and bigger every year,” Rovero said. The two previous festivals had less than 20 clubs and organizations participate.

Several clubs took advantage of the festival to raise funds by selling pan dulce, art prints, quesadillas, tacos and aguas frescas.

Former ELAC student and Cherry and Olive Designs business owner Patty Cordova had an altar set up in honor of her husband at her booth, where she sold handmade accessories. Her husband died three years ago.

“Around this time I feel my husband near me especially around Halloween. We went trick or treating until we were 28,” Cordova said.

Student and owner of the Velvet Beehive Alexandra Ruvalcaba also sold handmade items with sugar skull designs, and no two products looked alike. Ruvalcaba said she grew up celebrating Dia de los Muertos with her mother and decorating with festive colors, so she decided to apply that to her business.

The 11th Annual Student Altar Exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum has a variety of themed altars on display and it will be open to students and the public until Nov. 20.

“I feel happy that our ancestors brought this celebration to us to keep their memories alive,” student Kevin Gomez said.

Stephanie Garibay, Gil Milanes, Mario Hernandez, Jessica Munoz and Ismael Carrillo contributed to this story.

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