Long Beach State’s student government, in collaboration with the Beach Pride Center, hosted a celebration on the first day Día de Los Muertos at the University Student Union, which included foods such tamales and conchas, live music and an altar to remember a family member, friend or loved one who has passed away.
The event, which occurred on Monday, Nov. 1, celebrated the two-day Hispanic holiday, with the first day more commonly known as the “Day of the Children.” Dias de Los Muertos is a traditional holiday that honors the dead by creating altars and is used as a two-day remembrance period.
Workers from both the ASI and the Beach Pride Center worked the event, each one having a specific role.
Some were handing out a variety of tamales, including chicken, corn, hatch chile and pork and colored conchas, which is a traditional Mexican bread made for special events or everyday consumption. Others handed out orange marigold flowers, which have great significance on this holiday because it is said to help the spirit find its way to the altar.
Both organizations collaborated to create the ofrenda (altar) for CSULB students to place their orange marigolds on. The ofrenda was made up of a Mexican serape blanket, photos of family members, candles and papier-mâché decorations.
After placing their flowers on the ofrenda, students such as Esperanza Carmona, a social work major at CSULB, grabbed a plate of food, while others participated in craft-making and listened to the band performance by Los Tres.
Carmona said she attended the event out of respect for the holiday and cultural significance, despite the fact that she doesn’t celebrate Días de Los Muertos because of her religion.
“I’m enjoying the food, the music, and the ambiance,” Carmona said.
Still, Carmona said she “unintentionally” celebrates Día de Los Muertos when she visits her cousin’s gravesite to place flowers every Thursday.
Each student was required to show the completion of their COVID-19 survey and after were handed vouchers for the food. Mia Castro, who was hired two weeks ago at ASI, was in charge of making sure each student adhered to the entrance guidelines and regulations.
Castro said the Beach Pride Center made great contributions for the event to happen.
“They were the main reason that this came together,” she said. “They approached the ASI about the event and everything happened after that.”
Castro added that the Beach Pride Center funded the entire event and that they hired the Los Tres band to perform for CSULB students.