CSUN’s Chicano House hosted its annual two-night celebration for Dia de los Muertos this month. Nov. 2 was Noche de Ofrendas (Night of Offerings), an evening of remembrance. Nov. 3, Dia de Les Muertos, was a night of celebration, culture and community. The holiday isn’t about mourning, but a celebration of those who have passed. It’s a day of remembrance and especially healing, according to student and faculty organizers.
An important element of Dia de los Muertos is art, which is featured at ofrendas (altars) set up for loved ones –so their spirits can return during the holiday. Photographs are common elements on altars, used to welcome ancestors back to the living. The brightly colored papel picado — colorful, perforated tissue-paper banners — is an important element of the holiday, said to represent the fragility of life. Any movement of the paper, according to tradition, signals the arrival and presence of loved ones at the ofrenda. Every piece of art on the ofrendas gives the creator a chance to reflect the personality of the lost loved one.