It is a time to reflect. It is a time to be in awe, and it is a time to celebrate life. This event put on by the Latino Student Organization was meant to be a public opening to the Holland community. People from all walks of life were invited to come to campus and come together to get a better understanding of a holiday that is one of the most essential days in the traditional Mexican culture.
The Latino Student Organization’s vice president, Rodrigo Zavala-Cintora, started by presenting the public with the fascinating history behind the holiday. Zavala-Cintora highlighted the most central piece of the holiday, the ofrenda, or family altar. The decision made beforehand was that anyone interested could contribute to this altar with photos of family, friends and celebrated artists. These items would be scattered around the platform and surrounded by the bright colors of marigolds and various decorated skulls, some even made of sculpted sugar. While not as personal as traditional ofrendas, the altar used in this event still captured the spirit of gathering the photos, food and decorations that honor their loved ones.
There was something there for all attendance, a true family event. There were families enjoying complimentary churros and hot chocolate while children, students and adults alike had the opportunity to decorate their very own paper skulls and paper marigolds. With the event’s location set against the backdrop of the renowned Kruizenga Art Museum, the celebration was also complemented by surrounding paintings and wood carvings. There were also sculptures dedicated to celebrating the values of tradition and family.
This event has been a remarkable landmark and callback for the Latino Student Organization. This event helped to serve a reminder of why the organization was formed in the first place: to connect with all kinds of people and make them feel included in the diverse community that Hope College has become.