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Heartland Community College

Association of Latin American Students host Dia de los Muertos celebration

November 3, 2022

The Heartland Community College chapter of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) brought a celebration of El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) to campus on November 2. 

Students, their families, and friends were invited to a Day of the Dead celebration held in the Workforce Development Center on the Heartland campus in Normal to honor the long tradition of celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed. 

A fusion of Hispanic and Pre-Hispanic traditions, the Day of the Dead is widely celebrated across the Americas from Chile to Canada. Traditionally, the holiday honors deceased loved ones as their spirits are believed to return November first and second to reunite with their families. Elaborate ofrendas or altars are constructed to commemorate and welcome the sprits. Often favorite foods and drink are included for replenishment after the long journey home. 

ALAS members were passionate in planning for the event and committed many hours to getting it off the ground.

Many noted that this was the first time they had ever had the opportunity to celebrate the Day of the Dead and that they were honored to have the support from the College to welcome the community to campus.

In reflecting on the event, student Melina Almanza shared, “Being able to have a safe environment we can celebrate our culture is something amazing. Many who don’t know the Mexican culture think it’s mostly violent, when really isn’t. Mexican culture is full of love and celebration of those who we care about. I’m so appreciative that I was able to explain to others who knew nothing about Día de los Muertos what it truly means; that it’s a day of love and remembrance, not something scary."  

The local Nonteno group Los Morros del Bajío also performed at the event.

Written by: Steve Fast