It goes by Dia de los Muertos, All Saints Day and Day of the Dead. The day is being celebrated by Weber State University students Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It’s a spiritual celebration,” said Viviana Felix, vice president of the Hispanic Area Council. “People believe the dead come and visit their loved ones.”
When the loved ones come back, people give them offerings, such as the deceased’s favorite food or drink, Felix said.
WSU is celebrating Dia de los Muertos by setting up an altar to the dead in the Shepherd Union Atrium. Students can bring pictures of their loved ones and offerings to them. Students are warned not to bring anything of significant value.
“We don’t want them to bring anything expensive that might get damaged,” Felix said.
There will also be hot chocolate and bread available for people putting offerings on the altar. The altar will be in the atrium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Certain items go into creating the altar, and each item represents something different. For example, there is a glass of water for the deceased to drink from after their journey to the land of the dead. Candles are also placed on the altar to help guide the spirits and represent light and hope.
Traditionally, people go to the cemetery and lay offerings on the graves of the dead.
“When they leave, they will leave the food there and put flowers and little things that they liked,” Felix said. “I had an uncle who liked tequila. They left a bottle of tequila. The thing is (the deceased) will come and drink it and the next day it won’t be there.”
All students are welcome to leave offerings, not just the ones who celebrate the Day of the Dead, Felix said.
“(Students) will get to know a different celebration from somewhere else,” Felix said, “and you get to participate, and by participating, you get to know more about how it works.”
Felix said she believes the Day of the Dead has a bad reputation.
“I’ve been told that people think that it’s used to worship evil,” Felix said, “but it’s just the way that it’s presented. It’s more of a celebration to celebrate that the dead are in a better place, a happier place.”
At 4 p.m. today, students will go to the Ogden City Cemetery to clean and decorate the headstones.
“We are going to take flowers, and we are going to clean up the tombs in the cemetery area,” Felix said. “There are a lot of leaves that have fallen.”
The students will be there until 6 p.m., cleaning and decorating the graves.
“To the Mexican people, it’s a very important tradition,” said Maria Rodriguez, the historian of the Hispanic Area Council.
All students are invited to leave photos and offerings for their loved ones, whether they celebrate Dia de los Muertos or not.
“Come and have some chocolate and bread and help with the community service,” Felix said.