Day of the Dead display will continue through Wednesday night

By Jiyoung Song | 11/7/12 5:30am

A special holiday was recognized on Oct. 31and celebrations have not yet ceased in Baker-Berry Library. No, the holiday to which I’m referring is not Halloween, but Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration that is observed from October 31st to November 2nd. The colorful display across from the Stacks entrance on First Floor Berry serves as an altar to honor this traditional holiday.

Ballet Folklorico, in conjunction with the Spanish Department, decided to honor Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes who passed away this May. Fuentes was a Mexican diplomat and prolific author whose novel, "The Death of Artemio Cruz," was a huge success. Fuentes was a visiting professor at Dartmouth in the 1980s and developed many of his ideas during his professorship in Hanover.

Last year, Ballet Folklorico honored the victims of violence in Mexico, and the year before they honored the female homicides in Juarez, Mexico.

The exhibit adds a modern twist to the Mexican tradition. To promote Mexican culture among diverse audiences, labels are found next to the altar. The explanations offer translations that tend to deviate from authentic Spanish meanings, which has been a struggle for the group. Also, the video next to the altar is a noteworthy innovation.

“Thinking of it as an offering, we prepared this video that showcases dances made by our group,” Emmanuel Tecuatl ’13 said. “It’s a break from tradition, something different from the altar.”

The display is mostly for observing the holiday and Fuentes’ death. You can place on the altar a picture of someone who has died whom you would like to pay respects. Usually, the food prepared as an offering is consumed when the altar is taken down. The exhibit will be up until Wednesday night, so make a detour on your way through the library or take a brief study break to check out this Mexican tradition!

Jiyoung Song