The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Sigma Lambda Gamma celebrates Dia De Los Muertos

GVL | Macayla Cramer

Grand Valley State University’s Sigma Lambda Gamma celebrated Dia De Los Muertos on Oct. 20 at the Frederik Meijer Honors College. 

At the sorority’s Dia De Los Muertos event, members gathered around tables to put together garland and other paper decorations. Snacks, pastries and hot chocolate were laid out for the members to eat while putting together the decorations. Students talked about their experience with the tradition and their shared culture. 

“Our sorority, our motto, is culture and pride. One of our pillars is cultural awareness. We try as much as possible to create events that we host around pillars like that and culture awareness I feel is really big,” said Sigma Lambda Gamma’s membership officer Maya Ortiz. 

Dia De Los Muertos is a tradition in Mexican culture to remember and celebrate loved ones who have passed away. During the holiday, an ofrenda (altar in English) is set up where pictures of loved ones that have passed on are displayed along with some of their favorite foods and other items from when they were alive. This tradition is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2, with preparations beginning days in advance to set up the ofrendas. The spirits of children are celebrated on the first day while spirits of adults and all souls are celebrated on the second day.

Once the decorations were finished at FMHC, a table was set up for the ofrenda in the Frederik Meijer Honors College lobby where the decorations were displayed. To complete the ofrenda, pictures of those who had passed were displayed along with candy, candles, bread, sugar skulls, paper garlands and some personal items of the deceased are displayed as well. Marigold flowers are also an important decoration for the ofrenda, as they are said to attract the dead to the offering that was prepared for them. 

“(We wanted) to bring that (the celebration) to our campus and create a community for other Latino students and create a space where they can celebrate it on campus if they don’t have transportation to a church or back to their homes to celebrate with their family,” Ortiz said.

Additionally, it is believed that the border between the living and the dead is opened on Dia De Los Muertos, letting both worlds unite and families become one. For many families that celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, their focus is not only remembering those who have passed on but also celebrating the lives they lived and never forgetting their loved ones. 

“I think it signifies a lot with Mexican culture and letting people know that it really is something significant to us. Making sure we represent those who have died and their lives and who we cared about,” said GVSU student Itzel Orduna. 

The tradition is centered around family. However, bringing the tradition to campus further connects students in the GVSU community to a shared culture.

“We have over 1,400 different nationalities, so just finding different ways, whether it’s connecting with our cultures or other cultures, and just having them educate us or bring their culture to Grand Valley (allows) students of those other backgrounds to relate as well,” Ortiz said.

The Dia De Los Muertos event attests to the larger goals of Sigma Lambda Gamma as they hope to cultivate and create a space that celebrates all cultures on campus.

“I hope that people took away that even though you don’t see it (other cultures) on a daily basis, it is there,” Ortiz said. “It is an opportunity to connect with other people and other cultures and bring that aspect to campus.” 

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