Dia de Los Muertos at UND 

On Wednesday, November 2nd,the Memorial Union was prepared to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Ava Stockstad, Reporter

With Disney’s Coco playing on the screen for visitors to watch and an altar set up to commemorate loved ones, Day of the Dead celebrations at UND were underway. This event was put on by Student Diversity and Inclusion to inform others of the celebration while also giving students something exciting in their day.  

Traditional Mexican desserts were also available for students to try, and the public was asked to add to the altar if they wanted. Student Diversity and Inclusion said of the altar, “come to the Multicultural Center (Student Diversity and Inclusion) and add to our Altar to honor those that have passed in our lives.” Getting students involved in these customs and traditions of other cultures helps to not only educate our campus, but it also helps make students feel included and seen.  

Día de los Muertos was first celebrated over three thousand years ago in Aztec civilizations as a ritual to commemorate those who died. The holiday celebrates loved ones who have passed on, and many see it as an opportunity to connect and communicate with the deceased. The idea behind the holiday revolves around the belief that death is “an integral, ever-present part of life” (according to History.com). On this holiday, it is believed that the disconnect between the real world and the spirit world is dissolved, and that those who have passed on will come to visit and celebrate with those still on Earth.  

Those who celebrate Día de los Muertos have many preparations for it. Ofrendas – or altars – are created to commemorate those who died, and photographs, candles, marigolds, and foods are often placed on them as offerings. Sugar skulls are commonly made, which feature colorful designs and patterns. Traditional baked goods and dinners are made for families to eat and share with others. Oftentimes, parades will be held that are full of colorful clothing and song. For so many, the Day of the Dead is one of the most important days of the year, as it is meant to be seen as a time of hope and commemoration.  

If you want to be involved in more cross-cultural events, many other opportunities will be available. In the past, UND held Time Out Wacipi to celebrate Indigenous peoples, as well as an MLK Day Brunch. For this year, several upcoming events are shared on the Diversity and Inclusion tab of UND’s Student Involvement website. For example, on November 14th, there will be a Transgender Remembrance Altar set up on campus. If you want to get more involved with these types of events, keep an eye out for anything new that might be added to the UND Student Involvement website.  

Celebrating other cultures is a hugely important thing. According to an Appalachian State University study, “cultural celebrations foster respect and open-mindedness for other cultures. Celebrating our common differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us.” Thanks to the Student Diversity and Inclusion team at UND, this event was put into action, allowing other students to learn about, recognize, and honor an impactful part of some of their peers’ culture.  

 Ava Stockstad is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].