Club Latino breathes new life into Dia de los Muertos

merrettkrahn

Credit: Von Hafften
Credit: von Hafften

From a mural in Reid to a dance at La Casa Hispaña, Club Latino is shaking up Dia de los Muertos this year, emphasizing less formal and more unstructured ways of involving the Whitman community.

“We’ve always had a lot of fun putting together Dia de los Muertos activities,” said junior Taneeka Hansen, a member of Club Latino.  “The events have normally come off the way we’ve wanted them to, but we haven’t had as many people as we’ve wanted, so that’s why we’re changing course this year.”

Hansen described Dia de los Muertos as a time for families in Latin American communities to unite and celebrate their relatives and friends who have died.

20091030-02-muertos-web“It’s not a day for fright; there will be skeletons in parades and stuff but they’re always the happier ones because it’s a tradition of being with your loved ones that have passed on,” said Hansen.

Traditions associated with the holiday include building an altar in the home dedicated to deceased family members and picnicking at their gravesites.

Club Latino planned a variety of other activities to introduce and involve the Whitman community in the celebration of the holiday.

“Our aim with these events is partly to create awareness of Latin American culture, while at the same time drawing in the greater Whitman community,” said sophomore co-President of Club Latino Aaron Aguilar.  “This year we have organized several smaller projects around a larger dance with these goals in mind.”

The dance will take place on Friday, Nov. 6, from 9 p.m. to midnight at La Casa Hispaña.

Their smaller projects include posters around campus that encourage students to remember the dead.

“Around campus right now we have posters set up for people to share thoughts, prayers, wishes, whatever. It’s a way to let the deceased know that you’re thinking of them,” said Hansen.

20091030-03-muertos-webOn Wednesday, Nov. 4, Club Latino took the posters down and assembled them into a mural.

“We are constructing a mural with comments, art, poetry and thoughts from the Whitman community and we will be  putting it up for display in Reid,” said Aguilar.   It should be on display for about a week.

Club Latino’s expectations for their events and activities are simple.

“We’re hoping to get some really interesting responses on the mural. We’re hoping for the dance that people will come and have fun. The holiday is about celebration.   We’re just hoping that people will come and have fun, which is in the spirit of the holiday,” said Hansen.