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Students to Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with Showcase and Gala

Oct. 30, 2012

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

Students to Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with Showcase and Gala

CANYON, Texas—The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) will be decorated with more than 30 ofrendas when students in the College of Education and Social Sciences at West Texas A&M University celebrate the third annual Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—Celebration of Life event, Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

Dia de los Muertos is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico, where families and friends celebrate and honor those that have passed. Memories of a loved one contribute to the development of offerings (ofrendas) that celebrate who their loved ones were on earth. Altars or ofrendas are constructed with love and can be decorated with pictures of the one being honored or remembered. Spiritual items, favorite foods or beverages, marigold flowers and other items specific to the deceased that illustrate their personality also are included.

WTAMU students will fill the Derrick Room of the PPHM with their own specially-created ofrendas—altars to the dead—in a project designed to help them better understand the Mexican culture way of mourning family and friends lost. What started as a multicultural awareness project in graduate counseling classes led by Dr. Yvette Castillo has turned into a college-wide event sponsored by Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences.

It is free to register an altar for the event, which will be showcased all week for visitors at the museum to enjoy. The artists will be judged and awarded for their efforts in several categories: Most Traditional Altar, Most Artistic Altar, Most Spiritual Altar and Most Modern Altar. The traditional third place, second place and Grand Champion Altar also will be awarded.

The celebration will end with a student scholarship Gala at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, with food donated by Amarillo area Mexican restaurants along with mariachi entertainment and ballet folklorico dancing. Children’s author George Ancona, author of Pablo Remembers, will be the featured guest speaker at the gala event. 

Tickets to the gala are priced at $50 each or $25 for students, staff and faculty. Tables of eight, priced at $1,000, also are available. For more information about Dia de los Muertos, and how to enter an altar and/or attend the gala, call the Department of Education at 806-651-2600.



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