The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NMSU celebrates Día De Los Muertos with community altar 

David Castañeda
Arik Ruiz shows his Día De Los Muertos spirit by sporting Catrin face paint. Nov. 2, 2023.

New Mexico State University’s Latin American Council invited members of the NMSU community to celebrate Día De Los Muertos at the council’s community altar event on Thursday, Nov. 2 at Garcia Center.  

Día De Los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Mexican culture on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, in which the living honor those who have died and celebrate their lives. It is believed that the spirits of the dead return to Earth to spend time with their relatives on those two days.  

Altars are made as a way for the living to welcome the dead. Ofrendas are placed on the altars, usually including photos of the deceased loved ones, their favorite food and beverages, or other personal items in remembrance of them.   

The NMSU Latin American Council, a group of Hispanic student organizations within Chicano Programs, created this community altar to provide a space not only for students, but for anyone to attend and honor their loved ones.  

“This student-led event is impactful for our community to have those elements as a reflection of our culture and our values,” said Rio López, director of Chicano Programs. “I was a student here and I appreciated these opportunities where I could connect with my traditions and my roots, and I know a lot of students feel the same way. That is one of our hopes to have this kind of visibility and culturally relevant events, so hopefully this becomes a tradition of the university and our program.” 

Latin American Council student president Karla Robles-Guzman dressed as a Catrina to celebrate Día De Los Muertos on Nov. 2, 2023. (David Castañeda)

The organization also served pan de muerto, a sweet bread traditionally baked for Día De Los Muertos. Attendees also dressed for the Catrina contest. This costume resembles the holiday’s icon, La Calavera Catrina, usually portrayed with sugar skull face make-up.  

“With NMSU being a Hispanic and minority-serving institution, hopefully with events like this we are able to offer a place for these students to feel safe and feel like they are able to celebrate holidays that are so meaningful like this one and give a sense of community,” said Karla Robles-Guzman, student president of the Latin American Council. 

The altar was full of traditional decorations like paper flowers and “papel picado,” perforated paper with intricate designs. Council members designed the altar and made each of the paper flowers.  

“We really hope to continue this, especially for this holiday, we want to grow this celebration,” Robles-Guzman said.  

Arik Ruiz, owner of Alma’s Kitchen, a local restaurant in NMSU’s Frenger Food Court, attended the event and said the organization did an amazing job of bringing people together to honor those who have passed away. 

Students were given the opportunity to have their Catrin/a makeup done on Nov. 2, 2023. (David Castañeda)

“I think it is important because it is a part of our history; especially with the newer generations, we need to make sure they understand what Día De Los Muertos means, and to make sure everyone participates and understands because sometimes we just forget about traditions,” Ruiz said. “We need to make sure to keep this tradition alive. Hopefully next year more people will get involved and it can be bigger.”  

Events like this not only allow people to commemorate holidays like Day of the Dead but also are a way to educate those who may not be aware of the importance and significance of cultural traditions. 

“This is the first event I have attended in regard to Spanish culture, and I really like it,” said Christopher Joseph Francis, a freshman student at NMSU. “I think they should definitely expand on this, but even though it is a small event there is still that feeling of culture and family, and I can feel that.” 

For more information on the Latin American Council, visit the Chicano Programs website. 

Facebook Comments
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Elizabeth McCall, Staff Writer
Elizabeth McCall is entering her first year with The Round Up as a Staff Writer. She is a senior at NMSU majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a minor in communications. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but grew up in Edgewood, New Mexico. Elizabeth discovered her love for writing in middle school, when her love for reading evolved. She became interested in journalism in high school, and since then it has become a passion. She spends most of her time reading and writing, but also loves music, playing with her dog, hiking, and spending time with her husband, family and friends. Elizabeth hopes to make a positive impact at The Round Up and grow as a writer and journalist.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

Comments (0)

All NMSU Round Up Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *