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Day of the dead: Central students partake in Hispanic heritage

Ben Newby, Staff Reporter - November 7, 2012

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month this October, students around campus have come together to celebrate in a variety of ways.

The Center for Latino and Latin American Studies and the Student Artist Collective assembled together with other interested students to host an event for Alteras y Ofrendas, or Altars and Offerings. The event was an art exhibit on campus and around the Ellensburg area.

The Alteras y Ofrendas event featured traditional Mexican cuisine, music and altars which are traditionally made as offerings for the deceased. The altars consist of papel picado, or pierced paper, which feature cut outs of skulls.

Along with the papel picado, the altars traditionally feature favorite food and beverages of the deceased. In the case of the altar, located in Randall Hall, you can find a few Pabst Blue Ribbon cans worked into the art.

The standout feature of the altars is the sugar skull cookies, which are cookies brightly decorated with frosting in the shape of skulls. “We used 25 pounds worth of sugar skull cookies,” said Central Washington University Art Professor Joan Crawley Crane, while discussing the creation of these traditional altar offerings to honor the deceased.

Aside from the altars, there was a large skeleton constructed and painted as well as some exhibits featuring Aztec poetry.

Students around campus also took part in Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in the SURC on Nov. 1. This ancient celebration states that the barrier between the living and the dead is thinner on Nov. 2, which allows them to communicate.

Mariachi Huenatchi provided the music for the celebration of lives passed on. During the event, students and community members received free face paintings of skulls and flowers.

Horchata, a ground almond, rice and cinnamon based drink was among the refreshments served and a hanging skeleton donning a purple dress was among the props at the event.

The displays from Alteras y Ofrendas will be available for viewing at various locations around Central’s campus, such as on the bottom floor of Randall Hall and around the community until November 5th.



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