Chicano Art Students Observe Day Of The Dead

Published: Oct. 23, 1997

Chicano art students at the University of Colorado at Boulder will observe the Mexican and Southwestern holiday, Day of the Dead, by selling $1 mock death certificates and obituaries in the student center on campus.

Students also plan to make altars to pay homage to three recently deceased celebrities -- Princess Diana, Mother Theresa and singer John Denver.

Students will be in the loggia of the University Memorial Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31. The sale will raise money for a mural the students are painting at Casey Middle School in Boulder, said Salvador Rodriguez del Pino, associate professor of ethnic studies.

Day of the Dead, or days of the dead, is observed in many countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. The observance combines the Catholic All Saints Day with indigenous traditions, which teach that death should not be feared.

The Day of the Dead is a time for celebrating life and death. Observances involve the making of home altars and the decorating of graves to prepare for the return of deceased friends and loved ones. Preparations include decorating altars or graves with gold flowers, cooking the deceased’s favorite meal and placing candles to guide their way back to the celebration.

Halloween was originally based on All Saints Day, with the wearing of costumes intended to disguise individuals from evil spirits, but the holiday developed separately.