From the sounds of Folklorico music, the smells of tasty Mexican cuisines, the lights from altar candles, the faces that were painted like eerie skulls, to the views of virtually every color under the sky, this year’s Dia De Los Muertos event at Cal Poly Pomona certainly did not disappoint. The Bronco Commons, CPP’s new elite venue for entertainment and programs, was filled with hundreds of members from the campus and local community to celebrate life, or as the Mexican Holiday traditionally calls it, “Dia De Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead).
This year’s event proved to be unique like no other year before. The multiculturalism that was tied into this year’s theme, included celebratory performances from Spanish and Aztec Dancers, Tai Ko Japanese Drummers, Spoken Word, and Altars from different student clubs including Queer People of Color, the fraternities and sororities, Ethnic and Women’s Studies, Asian Pacific Islanders, and more.
Lorena Marquez, coordinator of the Cesar Chavez Center for Higher Education, said “The location for this year’s celebration is different and the program has grown tremendously. Last year we had 24 altars, this year 33 altars. What’s really different however, is that this year is more of a multicultural event that has brought together the campus community from various cultures and backgrounds.”
Students really appreciated the vendors that were selling Day of the Dead merchandise and sacred items that reflected the Mexican culture. One student purchased a skull, made from clay that was beautifully designed with all sorts of colors. The vendors noted that all of the goods were hand-made and authentic from Mexico, or you could just read the label that said “Hecho en Mexico”, meaning, Made in Mexico.
Next, the crowd was delighted with the musical performance from La Santa Cecilia, a local Spanish band who’s no stranger to CPP, as this was their second year playing for Dia De Los Muertos. ASI helped coordinate the concert, and locals from all over were grooving to the beats that Santa Cecilia brought.
“I love their lyrics, so meaningful and honest, and their sound is so vivacious and inspiring that it just makes me want to get up and dance!” said Melissa Ortega, third-year political science major.
As the event came to a close, the Bronco Commons lawn was full of happy, colorful people who couldn’t stop hugging each other while sharing new memories of what they had just experienced. Not to mention “stuffed” people who had plate after plate of all the delicious Mexican food that student clubs and organizations provided.
Ivan Montano, Cesar Chavez student assistant and Co-Chair of this year’s Dia De Los Muertos event, said “Not only did we talk the talk this year, we walked the walk, getting as many people involved as we could. We reached out to other communities, not just the Latino Community, and our multicultural program brought a diversity to this campus like never before.”
For more information about Dia De Los Muertos, or the Cesar Chavez Center for Higher Education, visit dsa.csupomona.edu/cesarchavez.