San Diego State students gathered into an overflowing room in the Adams Humanities building to learn and celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos with the Latinx Student Union, on Oct. 20.
Jose Julian Renteria, a first-generation Mexican-American and a third year Kinesiology student at SDSU, said it is a tradition his family holds dear.
“It’s a way for me to connect with (my grandpa) and other family members that passed away … it definitely has brought me closer to my culture,” Renteria said.
El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 in several different regions with their own rituals and customs.
Renteria’s favorite part of El Dia de los Muertos is making an ofrenda, an altar that holds a collection of objects to honor lost loved ones.
“We are celebrating our loved ones who passed away while we are out together so it really brings the aspect of family together,” Renteria said.
He celebrated El Dia de los Muertos in Mexico his freshman year and remembered the pathways of cempasuchil lining the entrance and exits of the cemetery in the small village. It was a large gathering of people with the smell of food in the air.
“If you ever have a chance to go experience it you should definitely do it because it is amazing,” Renteria said.
Anaiee Aguilar has been with LSU since fall 2019 and is a psychology major at SDSU. Her favorite part of the celebration is honoring loved ones that paved the way for her family.
“My grandpa who has passed was one of the first to cross over to the United States and establish a new life for our family,” Aguilar said in an email. “Without him, my family and I wouldn’t have been able to have the opportunities we do.”
Setting aside special time to celebrate her grandpa’s life is a way Aguilar can keep his spirit alive and remind her of his impact on why she must persevere and accomplish her goals
The Latinx Student Union provides a space for community to those who identify as Latinx or simply those who want to learn more about the culture.
“LSU and other Latinx organizations helped me have a sense of community and helped me find out who I really am,” Renteria said, “ Being able to communicate with people that have similar experiences and share different experiences, I get to know so many different cultures.”
According to the SDSU presence website, the mission of LSU is to “unite, educate, and empower Latinx students through the celebration of culture and the promotion of positivity, mentorship, purpose, and awareness in all that we do. Ultimately, to inform and involve all members in issues that may affect their lives or the welfare of the community.
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