October 27, 2000
California State University San Marcos will mark Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with poetry readings, calavera readings (poems inspired by the traditional skull icon), sugar skulls, papel picado designs, folk dancing and the presentation of altar offerings. The celebrations are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Thursday, November 2 in Palm Court on campus. The public is invited and there is no admission charge. The main events, including the presentation of altar offerings, are between noon and 2 p.m.
According to Carlos von Son, assistant professor of foreign languages and Day of the Dead organizer, the historic roots of the celebration date back more than 3,000 years. "In the pre-Columbian cultures of Meso-America, it was customary to bury the dead surrounded by their most precious belongings and provisions that would be useful for their journey into the Mictlan or afterlife," he explains. In México, the Day of the Dead marks the one time of year when the souls of the deceased return to earth briefly. In this way, von Son says, families mark the time with festivities and reunions. Altars are created as a place to leave "the most treasured items of the deceased," according to von Son. The "ofrenda" or altars include photographs of the deceased, flowers, incense, favorite foods, mementos and candles.
The on-campus sponsors of the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) include Counseling and Psychological Services, Latino Association of Faculty and Staff, Health, Counseling and Disabled Services, California Faculty Association and the California State Employees Association.