Thursday night in the Smith Student Center Ballroom a Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration took place. The Student Organization for Latinos, Hispanics and allies (SOL) along with sponsorship from the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity (PCRED) hosted the event. This was their third annual show.
Day of the Dead is a historically Mexican holiday that celebrates loved ones that have passed on and lasts from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. It is usually celebrated by going to the graves of loved ones to decorate them with flowers, sugar skulls and other decorations.
The multi-day holiday is looked at as a celebration of life,Mexican culture and myths. SOL aimed to culturally immerse the audience to their traditions.
Thirty models who, with the help of students and faculty, used body paint, costumes and dances to put on wordless performances to portray some Mexican myths. Lauren Hernandez, a senior communication major and daughter of SOL’s advisor Dr. Pease-Hernandez, designed all of the costumes.
Dr. Pease-Hernandez shared some ancient stories with the audience before the models came to act them out.
One story in particular was of the Aztec sun, which is the story of how the sun came to be. According to the myth, at the beginning of time, darkness covered the earth. Then, the gods made a fire, Pease-Hernandez explained. One of the gods leapt in, and came out as the sun. For the sun to roam, the other gods had to give the sun their blood to feed it and keep it going.
Another myth told by Pease-Hernandez was the story of Chupacabra. In Puerto Rico circa 1995, there were attacks on farm animals and eye-witness accounts, according to local newspapers, spoke of a creature attacking the animals. Years of searching for the creature was never successful, but the attacks are blamed on the creature called Chupacabra, which can be translated into “to suck goat.”
Since the Day of the Dead is about the departed, La Santisima Muerte, or “Holy Death,” plays an important role. She is in control of the healing and safe delivery into the afterlife and is often prayed to about lost loved ones, Pease-Hernandez shared.
After each story was told, groups of the models went on stage to represent the ancient myths and perform a short representation of the legends.
“We’ve worked really really hard the past four to five weeks to put this on,” said President of SOL, Aaron Carr.
“The audience (this year) was the largest yet. The SOL e-board, members and the entire cast did a wonderful job,” Pease Hernandez said. “The event brought together students from many diverse backgrounds.”
While Dia de los Muertos is mainly celebrated in Mexico, many places in America take part in celebration too, and SOL is happy to share the celebration throughout Slippery Rock.