By Hunter Samuelson
The Regina A. Quick Center’s exhibition “La Ofrenda,” at the Front Gallery, invites students to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, or the “Day of the Dead,” celebrated from Nov. 1 through Nov. 3.
El Dia de los Muertos, which began as an ancient Aztec celebration of death, is a three-day Mexican holiday when it is believed the souls of deceased love ones come back to earth. The celebration runs from Nov. 1, and leave Nov. 3. During this time, families make “ofrendas,” or offerings of food, candles, flowers and photos to leave on an altar. Additionally, cemeteries throughout Mexico hold music and dancing to commemorate the dead.
Although it seems morbid to celebrate the dead and not mourn them, when attributing St. Francis’s teachings about death, it makes sense; Francis viewed death not as an end, but as a transitioning from one way of living to another — entering the beatific vision of heaven.
St. Francis believed death was a natural part of life in which we transition to continue our lives with God — he reacted to death by mourning along with happiness and joy.
The Day of the Dead is an important part of Catholic tradition.
“Like the Catholic [holy] day of All Souls on Nov. 2, the Dia de Muertos remembers passed loved ones by celebrating lives. The altar, or “La Ofrenda” is for everyone to take part in the celebration,” said Penman, the Assistant Director of the Quick Center.
On Sunday, Nov. 2, the university ministries will hold a bilingual mass at 7 p.m. to celebrate the faithful who have departed.
El Dia de los Muertos is a holiday people for people of all religions.
“The Day of the Dead is becoming popular with Americans and non-Catholics as well,” Penman said.
The exhibition provides cards where students can leave their own, “ofrendas,” by writing on the card the name of someone close to them that has died and leaving it at the altar.
The Latin America Student Organization (LASO) will hold a skull decorating party for students soon.
“This will be a free event, and everyone can decorate a skull for the Ofrenda,” Penman said.
Amidst the Halloween excitement at Bonaventure, consider participating in the Day of the Dead celebration by visiting “La Ofrenda,” hosted by the Quick Center until Dec. 30. Support and programming for the exhibition comes from the SBU Damietta Diversity Center, and the LASO. Students are welcome to visit any exhibition in the Quick Center from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.