Day of the Dead informs on cultures

According to English major Mirella Garcia, who is affiliated with the Puente Club and displayed Mexican culture during the event, the Cerritos College Day of the Dead event was structured to inform about different cultures’ customs concerning death.

The event was hosted by the Anthropology Club in Falcon Square Thursday, Oct. 31 and had various clubs across campus participating.

“It’s the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, but it’s for different cultures.

“We’re trying to teach (about) different cultures and show the different rituals each one has for the dead. It’s not only something that is Hispanic, as it is predominantly known as, but it’s something diverse.”

She said about Mexican culture, “It’s basically about death being seen as not something negative, but (as)something positive. It’s something to look forward to after life.

“I’ve never known someone who has died, but if someone did die, I would continue the tradition because I am Hispanic. I would teach my family about (the culture) and keep the tradition going within us.”

Students stopped and analyzed the posters and the informatory cardboard cutouts to learn more about Day of the Dead and what it entails.

A variety of customs were on display, ranging from religous festivities like Diwali to occult practices such as Haitian voodoo.

Haitian voodoo, an aspect of religion borrowed from Africa, according to philosophy major and Anthropology Club member Mariaelena Iglesias, is an art of sacrifice to spirits in exchange for one’s safety or to afflict evil on an individual.

“This religion basically has two sides,” she said. “The white side wishes to enhance your life. The dark side, which uses voodoo dolls, is used to harm somebody.”

Garcia mentioned how it is good to inform the masses on Day of the Dead, as it is often misunderstood and prone to be subject to ignorance in the minds of people.

“It’s something seen as commercial and, with this event, we teach (students) on something that’s cultural. We don’t want to give into consumerism where it’s like, ‘Oh, Day of the Dead, that’s a sugar skull, let’s buy it.’

“It’s really more of knowing the history behind it and what culture represents specific things and to learn from that and keep the traditions going.”

Psychology major Jay Ricardo Nunez from the Active Minds Club thought the event was conveying in comparison to previous years.

He jokingly, but honestly, mentioned that the Zombie Fest, which was happening at the same time, helped bring in more people.

“I enjoy it. I have fun with it. Compared to last year, it’s going a lot smoother. There are more people coming by and it seems more lively.”

He added, “It helps for people to know how others recognize the dead.”