Monday, November 5, 2012

Día de Los Muertos

First of all, I have realized how to bring people to events--free Mexican food. But, let us pretend that people did not just come for the food, that they came for the actual meaning and purpose of Día de Los Muertos--to honor and celebrate the deaths of loved ones. What is this obsession we have with death? Why did so many people come?

The reason I chose and was so excited for this particular event is the Hispanic perception of death. Octavio Paz said, “The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death. (He) jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it. It is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love.” Death is usually a solemn time and one can't help but feel the melancholy, but being from a Mexican background I have learned to rejoice in it, to not fear it, but accept and in some sense have learned to love it. 

For me, the most moving part of the event was reading the letters students wrote to their loved ones who passed. I read every single one, and each letter perpetuated a warm and blissful feeling, not one was mournful or gloomy. The best part was the different cultures and languages: English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, all represented on the table. For me, it meant that the celebration of a loved one is not distinctly a Mexican or Hispanic phenomenon, that it is worldwide. People turned out, not to feel sad about a passed one, but because they wanted to celebrate that special person's life and to show their appreciation to that person.

I could not have been happier with the turnout and hope to continue and maybe expand this event for my remaining time at Colgate.

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