The Cypress College Anthropology Club hosted a sugar skull decorating activity booth for “Anthropology Week” at the Pumpkin Bash event that was located on campus at the Fine Arts Plaza on October 30. The club members had skull themed black and white face paint on half of their faces to celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Other students at the Pumpkin Bash were in costumes from head to toe showing off their Halloween spirit, listening to upbeat music, and participating in activities at booths other clubs, such as S.T.E.M., set up.
Participants at the Anthropology Club’s activity booth were given small, blank styrofoam sugar skulls to decorate with arts and crafts supplies such as puffy glitter paint, bright colored puff balls, and googly eyes to get their creativity flowing.
As spooky season comes to a close, Día de los Muertos starts off the first week of November to honor and remember family members who have passed away in a celebratory manner.
According to the Día de los Muertos website, the two day holiday is known to take place in Mexico from November 1 to November 2, and it is believed that the spirit world is granted passageway to visit the living during this time. The ofrenda, “offering,” is significant in the tradition because it is a table altar that includes items such as pan de muerto, a sugar pastry that is offered to the souls, photographs, and other decorations such as calaveras, also known as sugar skulls.
The Day of the Dead holiday is not only celebrated in Mexico, but also in many parts of the world like Japan. According to the Hisgo website, the Bon Festival, also known as Obon, came from Buddhist customs in Japan. It is also a time where the spirits and souls of loved ones and dead ancestors come back to visit during mid August. During Obon, there are brightly lit paper lanterns hung in front of houses throughout Japan. Ozen are the offerings made in the form of lamps which are then placed in the river to guide the spirits with light.
Although losing a loved one is a time for grieving, Day of the Dead takes a different approach by recognizing and honoring loved ones in a sense of unity.