While many usually associate Oct. 31 with Halloween, the people of Mexico recognize it as the start of Día De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.
Athens provides a number of opportunities for students and Athens residents alike to appreciate the holiday. The Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Ln., is hosting a workshop on Saturday where attendees can craft a traditional sugar skull. They will create the skulls out of brightly colored felts, and be taught how to sew different elements of the skull together. With all the different colors and designs, no two skulls will be alike.
If You Go:
What: Felted Sugar Skulls workshop
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: The Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Ln.
Cassie Meek, the events and outreach director at The Dairy Barn, notes that The Dairy Barn has hosted an event like this for decades now, honoring the other cultures people celebrate in Athens.
“We’ve been doing these events since 1970 as the Fiber, Ceramic and Multimedia Local Arts Center in Athens, Ohio,” Meek said. “Honestly, each event is completely different.”
Not only is The Dairy Barn celebrating the Day of the Dead, but Gordy Hall as well. Paper lanterns and colorful decorations are draped from the floor to the ceiling of a hallway on Gordy’s second floor, dressing the dimly lit hallway in a festive manner.
The hallway is showered in an array of different colors because that is what the decorations would look like in Mexico at this time.
“They want to honor the dead in a way that reminds us that they’re still here, but in a joyful way,” Muriel Gallego, associate professor of Modern Languages, said. “That’s why they use colorful themes.”
The three-day celebration is widely observed in Mexico in order to honor deceased friends and family members. It is not viewed as a day of sadness, but rather as a day of celebration because people get to connect with those who have passed away.
The Ohio University Department of Modern Languages is also selling T-shirts and hoodies with a skull pattern on then in honor of the Spanish holiday for people to purchase.
“It’s all being done by Sigma Delta Pi, which is a Spanish student organization,” Justin Kendrick, administrative specialist for Modern Languages, said.
The entire week, students have been invited to take tours of the hallway in order to expose themselves to the holiday. However, Gallego believes students must be careful when celebrating holidays from other cultures.
“I think that it’s a double-edged sword,” Gallego said. “I think that it’s very important that we, in this country, get familiar with other cultures and what they do… But, on the other hand, I’m afraid it will be like a stereotype, when people dress with attires that are not their own or they appropriate culture.”