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HALO celebrates Dia de los Muertos

John Schuler / Photo Editor Dancing: Two students celebrating at the Dia de los Muertos event, hosted by HALO.

John Schuler / Photo Editor
Dancing: Two students celebrating at the Dia de los Muertos event, hosted by HALO.

Saint Louis University’s Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) brought a little holiday variety to campus on Wednesday evening with their Día de los Muertos celebration. A Hispanic tradition, Día de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov. 1-2 as a way of commemorating deceased loved ones.

“This celebration is significant because it honors the loved ones who have passed on,” stated Rebecca Guzman, treasurer for HALO. “The important thing to remember is that it is actually a celebration of a loved one’s life. It is a time to remember the past while looking forward to the future.”

HALO hosted their celebration a couple of days early to ensure decent attendance and an enjoyable outdoor atmosphere, and they invited students, faculty and staff to partake in the festivities. The event took place on the outdoor patio of the Busch Student Center from 7:30-10:30 p.m. It included festive dancing and a live DJ that played Hispanic music. An offering table with favored food and drink of the loved ones who have passed away.

“The offerings tables that people make are devoted to those who have passed, to receive when they come back to earth that night,” said HALO Vice President Jennifer Carrillo. “It is important to remember that death is not the end but just another part of the cycle of life and therefore should be celebrated and not mourned.”

By inviting the public to join in their event, HALO hoped to bring a greater understanding of the holiday to others, since it is a

commonly misunderstood Hispanic celebration. People often think that Día de los Muertos is like Halloween for the Hispanic culture and the organization wished to bring light to the misconception at their event.

Hispanic culture and the organization wished to bring light to the misconception at their event.

“Many of our members are Hispanic and this [holiday], which is largely celebrated in Hispanic culture, is a way to give our members and the SLU community a chance to celebrate with us, and learn a little more about [it],” said Carrillo. “It is also important for others to have the opportunity to try new things and learn about other cultures.”

Guzman also commented that this SLU event was a way to “foster a stronger community on campus” because it could inspire those who learned about the holiday to share their newfound knowledge with others. Carrillo provided an introduction at the event that explained the holiday and the significance of the various foods and decorations, which included marigolds, sugar skulls, pan dulce or sweet bread and Mexican hot chocolate.

Some members took this celebratory time to learn about and experience these exciting aspects of the Hispanic culture, while others took it as a time to reflect on loved ones.

“This event is especially important to me because I will celebrate the life of a dear loved one who passed away less than a year ago,” said Guzman. “It is important to me to celebrate it because it is a way of reconciliation with the easily deniable fact of death. It is a special moment of truth, love and hope for the future.”

This is the second year HALO has brought this Hispanic celebration to SLU, as last year was reportedly a huge success with a great turnout of people. HALO wants to continue celebrating this significant Hispanic holiday in the future.