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KU groups hosting Día de Los Muertos celebration

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


LAWRENCE — University of Kansas campus groups will host a community Día de Los Muertos celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. 

Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and throughout the Mexican diaspora to pray for and remember family and friends who have died and to help support their spiritual journey. Far from a sad, morbid event, Día de los Muertos is a lively festival where it is believed the spirits of the dead come back to celebrate with their loved ones. Traditional activities include building private altars called ofrendas, decorating calaveras (colorful decorative depictions of skulls) and Aztec marigolds, and visiting burial sites bearing gifts in order to honor the deceased. 

The Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, in partnership with the Latin American Student Union and Phi Iota Alpha, is organizing the celebration, which is open to the public and appropriate for all ages.

“The recent emergence of 'Coco' has helped people realize what Día de Los Muertos actually is, but there are still remaining disconnects between the aims of U.S. celebrations and how to maintain respect for the traditional Mexican holiday,” said KU student and event organizer Isabel Carttar. “This disconnect is what prompted our student organizations, along with the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, to plan and create this event. With this celebration, we hope to blend traditional, educational and entertaining practices of Día de Los Muertos and bring it to the Lawrence community. We also want to show the rest of the city outside of KU our experiences and aspirations as Latinx organizations.”

The event will feature crafts such as face painting and making papel picado for the ofrenda. Local businesses have donated items for auction to raise money for student groups. There will also be refreshments of traditional Día de los Muertos foods, including tamales, pan de muerto, empanadas and flan.

Local dance group Folklorico del Sol will perform at 6 p.m. The ofrenda will follow at 7 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring photos and belongings of loved ones who have departed to place on the ofrenda. 

For more information, contact CLACS at clacs@ku.edu

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