UD celebrates Dia de los Muertos in honor of lost loved ones

An ofrenda set up in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception honors the passed loved ones of students and faculty at UD. Photo courtesy of Zoë Hill.

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Zoë Hill | News Editor

Altars around campus serve as a way for students to honor lost loved ones for Dia de los Muertos.

The Mexican holiday, also known as the Day of the Dead, was celebrated Monday and Tuesday on campus. The day was intended for remembering family and friends who have passed. Ofrendas, or offering altars, were constructed with the lost loved one’s favorite foods and gifts. 

University of Dayton Campus Ministry set up ofrendas all over campus for students to celebrate the day. Ofrendas can be found in the Adele Center, Campus South, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Founders Hall Chapel, Marycrest Hall Chapel, the Multi-Ethnic Engagement and Education Center, Stuart Hall Chapel, and VWK Chapel until Nov. 9. 

“Throughout campus, there are several altars (ofrendas), a Mexican tradition that serves to remember, celebrate and pray for our beloved dead,” the university said on social media. “All are welcome to visit and bring a picture of their loved ones who have passed.”

Beginning Oct. 18, students had the opportunity to submit photos of deceased loved ones to be placed on the ofrendas. The Dia de los Muertos celebration on campus is a part of UD’s November Month of Remembrance. The Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day, celebrated on Monday as well, was also a part of Remembrance Month. 

Campus Ministry’s music minister and liturgy team member Scott Paeplow shared how students can learn from All Saints’ Day. In a letter to students, he voiced the importance of reflecting on one’s life and relationships. 

“We are encouraged to form relationships with saints whom we identify with, perhaps through shared passions or struggles, and ask for their regular intercession in our lives,” Paeplow said. 

The city of Dayton came together on Sunday to celebrate the Day of the Dead at the 10th annual Dia de los Muertos Dayton parade. The celebration was canceled last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it resumed this year with a completely outdoor event. 

The Oregon District was alive with sugar skulls, face paint and colorful costumes as the parade. Organizers of the parade and celebration said they were saddened to have to cancel the 2020 event, but they were excited to bring it back for the 2021 celebration. They estimated at least 600 people were in attendance at the parade. 

“After a year of stress and uncertainty, we will gather again to remember those who have gone before us,” organizers said. 

UD students can submit photos of deceased loved ones to be placed on the ofrendas until Nov. 9 using this form

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