Come join the Rohrbach Library Voices and Choices Center and the KU Spanish classes as they celebrate el Día De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life and death that is popular in North, Central, and Latin American countries like Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, and others. This celebration occurs around the beginning of November. Although it coincides with our Halloween celebrations, the Day of the Dead celebration is quite different.
The Day of the Dead celebration doesn’t involve spooky stories about ghosts haunting you. Rather it’s about remembering those whom you’ve lost. People make offerings to those they’ve lost, and they present these offerings either in their homes or at the grave sites. It is not uncommon for people to bring the favorite meal of the deceased to the grave site and to eat the meal there. In some cultures, people even sleep on the grave sites. In some countries, offers are made to family members who have emigrated to other countries; this is not the traditional practice, but it an emerging trend.
The most famous depictions of the Day of the Dead celebration come from José Guadalupe Posada, whose pictures of skeletons engaged in typical daily activities and dressed in clothing poke fun at death while at the same time making us acknowledge that it is in fact a part of life.
Day of the Dead celebrations are often colorful, with bright flowers, sugar skulls, and papiér maché skeletons. There is also a famous traditional dish that is prepared — Pan del Muerte, or Bread of the Dead. You can see some of these decorations on display, along with posters and pictures, in the Rohrbach Library’s Voices and Choices Center’s Day of the Dead display. In addition to a display in the Rohrbach Library, you can also visit the Language Lab in the DeFrancesco building to check out the display created by Spanish professor Dr. Dawn Slack’s classes.
Dr. Dawn Slack; Dr. Linda Matthews, associate library dean; Professor Bruce Jensen, multicultural support and reference librarian; and Professor Michael Weber, technical services and reference librarian have created a wonderful Day of the Dead display in the library. In addition to sugar skulls, colorful posters, flowers, and artwork from communication design professor Kevin McCloskey’s “ASARO of Mexico” collection, there will be a fact sheet available for your reference. You also will get the chance to sample some Bread of the Dead.
But that’s not all that Rohrbach Library is doing for this celebration. There will be life-size papiér maché skeletons on display, too. These skeletons were created by Yolanda Reyes, a local artist who had her skeletons on display a few years ago at the Reading Public Museum’s Day of the Dead feature.
Setup for the displays begins today. The displays will be available for you to view over the next few weeks. Look for upcoming information about your chance to sample some Bread of the Dead.
For more information about el Día De Los Muertos, visit the LibGuide designed for the celebration. You will find basic facts about it, as well as books, videos, articles, and news feeds full of information.
So check out the LibGuide and the display, and enjoy el Día De Los Muertos. It truly is as much a celebration of life as it is a celebration of death.