Día De Los Muertos Gala receives full crowd Saturday


Ashanti Thomas

At the Dia De Los Muertos Gala, attendees were able to dress up, enjoy tacos and rice, watch a live percussion performance, and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed away in the Grand Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Katja Benz, Student Government Reporter

The Día De Los Muertos Gala ran out of seating in the middle of the event on Saturday night with 130 seats available.

The event, which was conceptualized earlier this year, had a total of 80 seats. As the event went on, there were over 50 chairs added, meaning over 130 attendees were at the event.

Fatima Estrada, a senior criminology major, helped plan the event. While she was overwhelmed, she was so happy people came.

“(I feel) overwhelmed; I’m so happy that people showed up,” Estrada said. “We were very nervous that we weren’t going to fill up the tables, but the fact that we had to bring in more tables, (I’m) ecstatic. I love it. I can’t wait for next year, and now we know to plan for a bigger crowd.”

Estrada is ecstatic for next year, and glad that many people came to support the Día De Los Muertos Gala, even if they don’t celebrate the days themselves.

“It’s very overwhelming, in a good way,” Estrada said. “This is for our community. We’re representing us on campus. I love it that more and more people are showing up regardless of their background.”

Many ofrendas were created for loved ones who have passed and then displayed for the Dia De Los Muertos Gala in the Grand Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. (Ashanti Thomas)

Kassandra Garcia, a graduate student in the human services program administration program, and Hunter Mendoza, a freshman business major, danced at the event.

The dance, called the Baile folklórico, is historic to Mexican culture. There are some differences in the dance between the regions of Mexico.

As part of their outfits, there were nails in the bottoms of the dancers’ shoes.

“But our shoes have nails at the bottom of them,” Garcia said. “That’s because dancing is part of it. We use our shoes as instruments as well. Which was a little difficult because we couldn’t really find a place to practice. We weren’t allowed in Doudna, we weren’t allowed in other places because of it. So we just had to modify depending on where we could find accessible for us.”

Mendoza was glad to accept dancing at the gala because he was glad that he got to show how beautiful Mexican culture is.

“What they could see from tonight is that Mexico has a beautiful culture, and we want to really express ourselves and show it to the community,” Mendoza said. “This is why we accepted dancing for the gala because we knew that it was going to attract a lot of people and that they will pretty much share their experience. So we just wanted to give a good night and a great experience.”

Over 130 people attend the Dia De Los Muertos Gala Saturday night and view the ofrendas that were made for loved ones in the Grand Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. (Ashanti Thomas)

Estrada hopes that people could learn about Mexican culture from this event.

“I hoped that they would learn and understand the background to our culture, and understand that like certain things we do, it’s not just for fun,” Estrada said. “It’s a culture. It’s something we grew up with.”

Garcia was honored to show off her culture and represent the Latinx campus community.

“I think also (that) there’s not a lot of latinos on campus, so I think it was we’re honored to be representing the Latino body today through our dance and through our culture today especially,” Garcia said.


Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].