DEC to host Día de los Muertos event

Central News Watch

Kimberly Lariviere, Contributor

A vibrancy of colors including beautiful oranges and yellows are what you will see along with brightly colored complex table set ups. There will be a craft section with sugar skulls for decoration, hand paintings or other crafts. Live performances of dancers wearing colorful traditional costumes along with food being served will occur. You can also bring a photo of a loved one to place on an Ofrenda or Altar. 

Welcome to Día de los Muertos event hosted by the Diversity and Equity Center (DEC) on November 6th. This event will take place in the SURC ballroom (s) 215 A-D. Starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. This event is free to all Ellensburg community members and CWU students. 

Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is a Hispanic heritage-based celebration of the memory of those who have died. Families gather to honor those who have passed on to the next life while also welcoming them back to celebrate life and enjoy human things again.

Elizabeth Vidaurri, head coordinator of the CWU Día de los Muertos Event, has a close connection to Día de los Muertos due to her Mexican heritage. “It’s really nice to be able to see something like this on campus that speaks directly to my personal culture, and I know it does for a lot of students as well,” Vidaurri said.  

Yajaira Perez, is the social cultural coordinator of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and helps in the planning of the Día de los Muertos event. “Growing up I never really did Día de los Muertos traditions, but as I got older, I did my own research and found out through other sources what Dias de los Muertos actually is and what we do.” 

Heidi Flores- Montiel, a volunteer with MEChA who helps with the fundraising and sale of crafts and other items at the event, has a deeper personal feeling about the celebration. “Día de los Muertos is a way for me and my family to honor those who have passed away, honor their lives, honor them with our offerings, and just honestly be happy that they were in our lives.”

 Vidaurri says The Día de los Muertos event is a signature program that’s been happening for more than a decade. There’s been over 300 to 400 students that have come out to this event, and it’s expanded every year.

 “It’s nice to see that people care about their loved ones, and especially after COVID, I think it’s a nice way to honor those who left,” Flores- Montiel said. 

However, those not familiar with Día de los Muertos are also welcomed. James Beardslee, a current student enrolled at CWU, is open to the thought of attending Día de los Muertos in the future 

“Being able to experience other people’s culture is amazing and lets you know how people think and where their mindset is based on what they value.”