The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Spanish Club celebrates Day of the Dead on NW

By Linah Mohammad/reporter

Painted skulls, dancers and historical characters helped NW students celebrate the Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican holiday.

This annual event started out as an idea by the Spanish Club to raise consciousness for the Day of the Dead by creating an altar. The event now includes a La Catrina contest for the prettiest sugar skulls painted by students and ballet performances.

“People have a lot of misconceptions over the Day of the Dead,” Garza said. “Some people have asked me, ‘Is it a zombie walk?’ Others asked if it’s the Mexican Halloween. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration. We celebrate the loved ones who have moved on. So it’s supposed to be a happy celebration, remembering the loved ones who have died.”

Top from left, Intermediate Spanish I students Katlyn Fessenden, Deanna Bryant, Rudolfo Cuveas, Miriam Castillo, Kenson Short and Samuel Amado participate in the La Catrina contest. Photos by Linah Mohammad/The Collegian
Top from left, Intermediate Spanish I students Katlyn Fessenden, Deanna Bryant, Rudolfo Cuveas, Miriam Castillo, Kenson Short and Samuel Amado participate in the La Catrina contest. Photos by Linah Mohammad/The Collegian

The Day of the Dead consists of many traditional rituals.

“We create altars with photos, candles and whatever things the dead used to like when they were alive,” Garza said.

Altars containing their favorite food and beverages are assembled in memory of the loved ones.

“Some people go to the cemetery and play music to entertain the dead ones,” Garza said. “People believe with all of this, the spirits come back to us.”

The sugar skulls are one of the icons of the Day of the Dead, Garza said. They originated as a painting of upper class European women. Later, painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera developed them as a representation of death.

La Catrina contestants were students in assistant professor Alejandro Garza’s Intermediate Spanish I class, who came dressed as historical or traditional Mexican characters. Deanna Bryant as La Frida (Kahlo) won third place. Rudolfo Cuveas and Miriam Castillo, the Black Widow and her Next Victim, won second place. Samuel Amado as Pancho Villa won first place.

“The contestants were judged on their creativity, presentation, names and the details,” said Vesta Martinez, one of the judges.

Cuveas was glad he decided to participate in Day of the Dead festivities.

“This gave me an opportunity to learn more about my culture,” he said.

Bryant also felt a personal connection to the event.

“Not only did it teach me more about my culture, but it also showed me how big of an honor it is for people to celebrate it,” she said.

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