HALO, Spanish Club to sponsor Day of the Dead dinner; proceeds going toward scholarships

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HALO, Spanish Club to sponsor Day of the Dead dinner; proceeds going toward scholarships

October 24, 2011

For the second consecutive year, members from the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) and the Spanish Club are celebrating the Day of the Dead at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. This year the event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 5-7 p.m. in the Student Center Ranger Room. Tickets are $5 for the meal that will include tamales, sweet bread and a hot drink.

The public is invited to attend this celebration. This year, proceeds will support the HALO and the Spanish Club Scholarship Fund.

Visitors will receive information on this tradition and discover the wonderful meaning of the “Ofrenda de muertos” while observing the decoration of the room and the informative slide show.

Although this is a tradition celebrated in several Latin American countries, in Mexico it is more relevant. In most places in Mexico, Nov. 1 is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who died as adults are honored November 2.

The preparation for this celebration includes colorful decorations like skulls, tissue paper cut-outs called papel picado; candles and votive lights; fresh seasonal flowers, particularly cempazuchiles (marigolds) and barro de obispo (cockscomb) and the smell of burning copal (incense). Among the goodies offered are skulls made with sugar, chocolate or amaranth seeds and special sugary sweet rolls called “pan de muerto.”

At home, members of the family might elaborate an altar in honor of deceased relatives, decorating it with papel picado, candles, flowers, photographs of the departed, candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased and a selection of his or her favorite foods and beverages. The latter often include bottles of beer or tequila, cups of atole (corn gruel) or coffee, and fresh water, as well as platters of rice, beans, chicken or meat in mole sauce, candied pumpkin or sweet potatoes and the “pan de muerto.”

In Mexico the Day of the Dead is a holiday that represents a mix of pre-Hispanic and Roman Catholic rituals. It also is a perfect illustration of the synthesis of pre-Hispanic and Spanish cultures that has come to define the country and its people.

To purchase tickets, contact Dr. Claudia Young, assistant professor of Spanish, at coyoung@nwosu.edu or (580) 327-8464 or Dr. Francisco Martinez, associate professor of Spanish, at fjmartinez@nwosu.edu or (580) 327-8466.