UC Classmates Create Day of the Dead Altar

At first glance the Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead might appear to be related to Halloween. But students in a course on Mexican culture taught by University of Cincinnati Professor of Romance Languages Kirsten Nigro now know better. 

Her Spanish language class has constructed a Día de los Muertos altar similar to the kind Mexicans create each

Nov. 1

to allow the living to celebrate the dead. The UC student’s Day of the Dead display is on exhibit in the Max Kade Center in Room 736, Old Chemistry, from

6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. now through Friday, Oct. 31

. Then on the weekend, the students who created it will take it to the Latin American Cultural Fest at the Cincinnati Museum Center  from

noon- 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2

for a display that they will staff.

Photo of Stacey Bill and Rachel Burns

Photo of Stacey Bill and Rachel Burns

The student’s altar is dedicated to the seven astronauts who died in the Columbia disaster earlier this year and Cuban “salsa” singer Celia Cruz, who died in July. Their class meets from

9 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 31

, in Room 46, McMicken Hall.

Photo of astronauts

Photo of astronauts

According to Nigro, the holiday is rooted in Catholic/Native American tradition. The altar – laden with frosted sugar skulls made of sugar, egg whites and water, a glass of water for thirsty spirits and incense, candles, toy skeletons, intricately cut tissue paper, pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe and other items – is meant to be joyous. Other celebrations common for the Mexican holiday are picnics at the cemetery, fiestas, and drinking and eating together with friends and family (living or dead).

Contact: Kirsten Nigro, 513-556-1838

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