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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

MACC celebrates Dia de los Muertos with performances, community ofrenda

Charlotte Keene
Students honor lost loved ones on the ofrenda at the Mexican American Culture Committee and Living the Longhorn Life’s Día de los Muertos event in the WCP Ballroom on Nov. 2, 2023.

The candle-lit scene creates an intimate atmosphere as students place their photos of departed loved ones around bright-colored tissue paper banners. Rather than mourn for them, students celebrate their lives in an intimate way that brings them all together through tamales, activities and performances.  

“I have always celebrated Day of the Dead with my parents,” said Brenda Zamora Chavez, a government and economics junior, in Spanish. “I like to celebrate my culture, so when there are events like this, I like to come.”

The Mexican American Culture Committee hosts their Día de los Muertos event annually, a holiday originating in Mexico that is celebrated on Nov. 1st and 2nd and honors departed loved ones through offerings and prayers. Marigolds and sugar skulls are commonly placed as decorations surrounding an ofrenda or altar. 

This year, the event at the WCP Ballroom on Nov. 2nd featured crafts such as skull coloring and marigold tissue paper workshops, games, tamales and hot chocolate, and a performance by Texas Folklorico, who wore western-style cowboy outfits and traditional long ruffled dresses

MACC received around 60 photo entries online for their community ofrenda, which students could also decorate and submit during the event, ranging from departed family members, pets and pop-culture figures.

Stefania Alarcon, radio-television-film junior and MACC president, said she would visit her departed family members’ graves with her family at home to celebrate Day of the Dead.

“It was normal for me growing up to be able to celebrate, not only the life here on land, but the life after that they can have, spiritually,” Alarcon said in Spanish.

Alarcon said that she wants MACC and its events to be a place where you can celebrate your culture and tradition, and where all communities are welcome. 

“I think these events are very important because, well, one, it reminds you of something and probably not something you thought you could celebrate,” Alarcon said. “And two, it reminds you of what it was like to be small with your family, the food, the aroma, the music.”

Zamora Chavez said that her family would usually put up an ofrenda around Oct. 30th to honor loved ones, including pets. She also said that MACC’s Dia de los Muertos event created a nostalgic environment.

“I was telling my friends that I thought I was at my house, eating my concha and my coffee. And then with the music like this,” Chavez said.

Jasmine Barrera, a psychology sophomore, made an ofrenda of her grandpa at the event, whose picture is also framed back at home with candles and treats. 

“I saw that there were a lot of, like, not even, just Latinos, just like other people, like different nationalities. And it was pretty fun,” Barrera said in English. “They had little games going on and I liked the dances.”

Alarcon said that even though currently in Texas there are laws being passed that make things seem uncertain, it shouldn’t stop you from celebrating your culture. 

“This event and this organization allowed me the opportunity to be able to do these celebrations and these traditions for the people in my community and my culture …” Alarcon said. “What is happening outside in the universe or in it, that is, don’t let it prevent you from celebrating.”


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About the Contributor
Charlotte Keene, Senior Photographer
Charlotte Keene is a junior Journalism major from San Antonio, Texas. She enjoys making playlists and watching movies in her free time.