Photo gallery: MU celebrates Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a cherished Latin American holiday that symbolizes the enduring connections between generations. 

Story and photos by Santiago Guzman

Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a cherished Latin American holiday celebrated Nov. 1-2. This tradition symbolizes the enduring connections between generations, emphasizing the importance of family and community bonds. 

At the University of Missouri, student-led organization the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), helps bring attention to the time-honored tradition. For many students, especially those from Mexico, Día de los Muertos is a time to gather with family and commemorate those who are no longer with us. While some students can easily travel to neighboring cities to spend the day with their families, others, especially international students who are far from home, can find this challenging. That’s where ALAS steps in by hosting an event that allows students to embrace their culture and take a moment to remember and honor their ancestors.

Hilary Gonzales, co-president of ALAS, passionately underscores the significance of events that represent the traditions of the Latin American community.

“It’s always good to spend some time with someone who speaks your language and shares your values,” Gonzales said. “It’s important to feel that sense of belonging.”

Students participate in ALAS’ event on Nov. 2 in Memorial Union. Many wore colorful costumes to celebrate and honor their ancestors.
Based on the Mexican culture, medium skulls represent the character death, who is always present. Small skulls are an offer to Santisima Trinidad and large ones to Padre Eterno.
Event participants got to paint their own skull to help decorate the offering being made to returning souls.
Sandra Vazquez, pictured, was one of the organizers of this year’s celebration. “This day I go back to my roots and remember the ones that are not with me anymore.”Vazquez said. “I dress to celebrate my culture and pay respect to my ancestors.
The offering — or ofrenda — is composed of pictures, flowers, candles, water and flowers. All of these are left to help to the making their journey back home. The water will cure the thirst, the candles will be the guide, and the flowers will cherish the time the soul gets back home.