Dia de los Muertos Celebrated at Whittier College

A campus-wide celebration of the traditional Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead" will begin with a procession at dusk on Friday, November 1, in the Campus Inn parking lot at Whittier College. Sponsored by the art department in conjunction with the department of modern languages and several student organizations, the procession will feature masked and unmasked adults and children, who will parade from the parking lot to Wardman Gym, where a traditional altar constructed by students awaits the gifts of participants. Participants and observers are invited to place photos of deceased loved ones and samples of their favorite foods at the altar. There also will be two non-traditional altars-one dedicated to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and the other to the children killed in Dunblaine, Scotland-on display in the gym, along with traditional objects and information about the history of the Day of the Dead.

Based on customs of the "Mexicas," inhabitants of what is now Mexico City, offerings of food and other supplies are made to help the ease the after-death journey of the departed through nine underground passages. Successful passage leads to their final resting place. The event at Whittier is being supported in several classes. Calaveras escritas, satirical scrolls, have been written in some of the modern language classes for display in the gym. Many of the art classes have contributed to the preparations, from mask design and altar construction to mapping the luminaries that will guide the procession. The celebration is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Kim Russo, assistant professor of art, at (310) 907-4200, ext. 4587.

Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus.
 

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