Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology News
Graduate Student Camille Acosta Prepares Dia de los Muertos Altar
- Author: Monday, November 11th, 2019
Camille Acosta, Folk Studies graduate student and graduate assistant coach of the WKU Speech and Debate team, prepared an altar for Dia de Los Muertos. The altar is located in the Speech and Debate office and Acosta describes the altar as follows.
"The concept of death and loss can definitely be a difficult one to fully comprehend. The overall feeling of 'unknown' and 'loneliness' can be a terrifying idea to wrap our heads around. However, Día de los Muertos never ceases to calm our spirits and warm our hearts year after year. This Mexican tradition and celebration commemorates the ancestors and friends that came before us, and creates a physical work of art to keep them with us always. Between the night of October 31st through November the 2nd, families construct altars or ofrendas filled with photographs, objects, flowers, and food that best represent the souls that were lost. In this way, our loved ones stay in our hearts and their death becomes a celebration of the life they lived and the lives they continue to touch. I created an ofrenda in my Speech and Debate office, and left participation completely optional for any students or coaches that wanted to contribute. Throughout the week of October 31st, pictures and memories began making their mark on the altar, accompanied by fascinating stories of pride and joy. I really wanted to create a safe space for the Speech and Debate team this year, many of whom have experienced loss very recently. And although tears were shed through the process of the creation of the altar, spirits felt lifted in the sharing of their loved ones. There is no one way to cope with death, and everyone chooses this process in their own way. However, when the individuals walk into my office and smile at the picture of their grandpa or mother, it makes me realize that although this process is difficult, they don't have to experience this loss alone."