Dating back to the Aztec civilization when Día De Los Muertos was first celebrated.
One of the many rituals performed was the “altar” which is a shrine where people put a picture of a relative or a person they cared about (in some cases a celebrity) that has passed away.
COURTESY EPCC ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
"Catch the Next" students along with english professor, Angelina Arellanes-Nunez, created a traditional altar in honor of Dia de Los Muertos displayed at the Transmountain campus.
English Professor Angelina Núñez and her “Catch The Next” class brought this tradition to the Transmountain Campus (TM).
They put together a big altar in which students used candy skulls and wrote letters to those who have passed or to someone that they have little to no communication with.
They also decorate it with the person’s favorite foods and snacks along with festive decor, some play their favorite music.
The main idea of it all is that when the spirit of the person comes back to this realm on Nov.1, they would find their altar, eat the food and celebrate with their family members for that night.
Then, they would leave back to the spirit world happily once the celebration was over. Along with the skulls presented at TM campus, there were altars that had many different artifacts which possessed different meanings.
They had representations of water, soil, light, fire and wood that when placed together, represent earth.
There was also a pathway of lights which to symbolize the pathway the spirits use to reach the spirit world when the celebration is over.
Not only did Núñez come up with the idea for her CTN students to add information about other traditions and/or cultures on how they honor the death, along with a tribute to our veterans.
“The importance of it, other than to honor our ancestors, is to acknowledge our and other traditions and celebrate diversity among the community,” Núñez said.
She added that in the spirit realm there are three levels: the underworld or “hell,” our world and the spirit world or “heaven.” Our job, according to her, is to honor the ones that came before us rather than pity them.
“My father passed away earlier this year so after seeing this one, [altar] I put one up myself and it was a great coping mechanism to acknowledge that he is fine and he is not in pain anymore and hopefully found his way to my mom that passed a few years ago,” Samantha Portillo said.