A celebration of life and death is practiced around the world in dissimilar ways. For Mexico, Dia De Muertos is a national holiday that was originated by the Aztec Empire. During the 16th century, Dia De Muertos was a commemoration dedicated to the queen of the underworld, “Lady of the Dead” and the king of the underworld, “Protector of the Dead.”
The Aztecs worshipped Mictecacihuatl during Aug. with food and dances. This tradition changed when the Spanish Conquistadors looted most regions of Latin America. The Spanish conquistadors turned Dia De Muertos into a Catholic tradition. Today Mexican’s honor their ancestors who have departed on November first and second.
The beautiful tradition begins with an ofrenda (altar) on the tombs of the deceased. Cemeteries and homes are filled with orange marigold flowers. The aroma of the marigold leads the spirits to their ofrendas. Pan de Muerto symbolizes the body and bones of the dead. The ofrenda also must have papel picado, fire, incense, salt, and a glass of water. The ofrenda has more symbolic pieces and photos of loved ones.
V.O.I.C.E.S, The Multicultural Center, and The Dream Resource Center hosted the Dia de Muertos party that provided free food like pan de muerto, champorado, and tamales. The Aztec dancers from San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato, Mexico, performed in front of the student center. One of the dances was Chichimeca and is dedicated to the elders. Each dance and song illustrates stories of the Aztecs.
The dancers showcased their instruments, Huehuetl (Drum) and the Teponaztli (Log drum). The Teponaztli is carved on one side about 2- 4 inches. Flutes were also used for bird sounds and when announcing a battle. Ayoyotes is what they wore on their ankles to keep the rhythm of their feet. “All the dances are based on the heartbeat ”- Adolfo Arteaga
El Vaquero spoke to the co-presidents of the club V.O.I.C.E.S., Janet Antonio and Irvin who want to inform GCC students that the club is not only for Latino immigrants it is for all AB540 students. “AB540 is mandatory for undocumented students when applying for colleges. The bill is extended to any Non-U.S. Resident in Calif. who has completed 3 or more years of highschool, with their diploma, or the equivalent.” V.O.I.C.E.S. funds one scholarship every semester and hosts a ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop.
According to the club, undocumented students can receive state Financial Aid and apply for EOPS. Glendale Community College has 500 undocumented students who aspire to get their degree and citizenship. V.O.I.C.E.S encourages many people to join from different backgrounds.
The club currently has a Japanese international student and some Armenian students in the past. Irvine and Janet Antonio are hoping that on November 12, 2019 the Supreme Court hearing for DACA is a victory. Despite the predicament AB540 students face, V.O.I.C.E.S keeps their motto blare and vital “Breaking Barriers.”
Genesis Barboza can be reached at [email protected]