Student Organization, SNPhA Hosts CHSU’s First-Ever Celebration of Dias de los Muertos

 

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) has created a colorful display at CHSU in honor of Dias de los Muertos. This is the first “Day of the Dead” celebration on campus.

SNPhA is a student-run national organization dedicated to serving the underserved. Their mission is to increase minority representation in pharmacy and other health professions. According to Kenya, “SNPhA encourages minority students to spread awareness and celebrate all cultures for this reason we thought it was imperative to add the Dia de los Muertos celebration to our agenda.” The hardworking members of SNPhA hope that the altar will encourage students to learn more about Hispanic culture.

Dias de los Muertos was created to celebrate the lives of those who had passed, rather than grieve for their deaths. The Aztecs first developed the ritual 3,000 years ago because they believed one should not grieve the loss of a beloved ancestor who passed. Instead, the Aztecs celebrated their lives and welcomed the return of their spirits to the land of the living once a year. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31st, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2nd, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

The altar was set up by College of Pharmacy students: Parvi Boyal, Karen Pelham, and Kenya Covarrubias. Photos of the deceased are placed on the altar along with significant items that they had valued during their life such as their favorite mug, fruit, drink, tool, and so on. The altar also holds skulls painted with festive colors and patterns to indicate that the dead is happy after passing. Handwritten notes are left behind for the spirits to read when they return to the land of the living during this time. The display is also adorned with candles and fresh flowers to reflect the festive holiday.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to view the display for themselves, and contribute to the altar with either photos and/or mementos of their departed loved ones along with a handwritten note.

The altar will continue to be displayed in the lobby area of the main CHSU campus until November 2nd.

               

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