The Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity hosted “Mi Cultura Night” on Nov. 2 at Taylor Hall in collaboration with the Multicultural Center.
The event was based around the Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, holiday and included a presentation by members of the fraternity describing the holiday’s background, traditions, and significance.
The fraternity’s event originally began in 2018 and has since become an annual event each year. According to the fraternity’s vice president, Ivan Santos, a junior majoring in political science, the planning process began in August and strongly focused on picking the theme for this year’s event
“I had meetings with the Multicultural Center and came up with our theme, which was back to the Aztec roots,” Santos said. “They’re a great resource and we love to collab with them.”
Santos also spoke more in-detail about the fraternity’s background and goals for their events.
“We like to focus on academics, brotherhood, service and culture, so we do our events based around that,” Santos said.
Their primary goal was to spread awareness of the holiday to others who may be unfamiliar with the holiday or the culture. Although it is the only Latino-based fraternity at IUPUI, they are open to people of all backgrounds joining and learning more about them and their culture.
The fraternity’s presentation detailed Día de Los Muertos as a two-day event where families celebrate the lives of those who have passed on and their ancestors. It is meant to be the only time of the year where the living can spend time with the dead, and it is widely celebrated in Mexico and countries across Latin America.
Santos also explained that the origins of the event trace back to the Aztecs, with some influence of the Spanish included as well. They would originally dedicate the holiday to the goddess, Mictecacihuatl, who would watch over the bones of the dead and collect them.
In addition, families create altars or ofrendas offering food and belongings to those who have passed. For the fraternity’s event, they made an altar for those attending to leave pictures of their family members as a way to remember them, with pets included as well.
“Not only do we dedicate our big alters and put up pictures of people, but recently people have also put up pictures of their beloved pets,” Santos said.
As students learned more about the holiday’s background and traditions, food such as pan dulce, also known as Mexican bread, and hot chocolate were also available. Students also got to create miniature graves with snacks, which they ate after.
By the end of the night, students learned more about the Day of the Dead and celebrated the holiday by spending time with each other. Santos later reflected on the holiday’s importance and the significance of remembering loved ones.
“It’s a great day to remember our ancestors,” Santos said. “We’ll cherish them forever.”
Daniel Guevara is a sophomore studying Journalism at the School of Liberal Arts. He is a campus writer for the Campus Citizen.