Celebrating Day of the Dead with MSC CAMAC
MSC CAMAC has been hosting the Ofrenda at Texas A&M for more than 50 years, as a part of their larger Day of the Dead celebration. The students of MSC CAMAC, the oldest Latinx programming organization on campus, host this event as a ritual to honor lost family members. The Day of the Dead is a holiday often observed on November 1st and 2nd and emphasizes paying respect to loved ones and recognizing the circle of life. The Day of the Dead celebration features different activities in addition to the large Ofrenda. When hosting this event, MSC CAMAC provides a safe space on campus to celebrate this holiday, while also spreading awareness of Latinx traditions to the broader campus community.
Hosted in the Stark gallery within the MSC, attendees can observe a decorated table with pictures of lost family members butterflies intended to spread hope, a station for traditional face painting, and a rolling powerpoint displaying the lost family members. The primary feature is the Ofrenda, exhibiting over 75 framed photos of their loved ones. While this event is seen as a Latinx tradition, program advisor of the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute Cory Arcak hopes this event provides an opportunity for those of other cultures to feel welcomed. Not only does MSC CAMAC host this event, but several other student organizations work together to cultivate a space for students to engage in open dialogue and learn about each other’s cultures.
The students of MSC CAMAC work together with limited resources in order to represent the cultural significance of the holiday and to accurately honor each participant. This effort can be seen through handmade flowers and an altar demonstrating the Latinx culture. Beyond the altar, MSC CAMAC provides face painting and music in order to unify those participating or wanting to educate themselves on the holiday. While students are encouraged to participate, all are welcome to use this as an opportunity to gain a broader perspective on other cultures to promote unity across campus.
Hosted in the Stark gallery within the MSC, CAMAC’s Day of the Dead event includes making butterflies, face painting, and traditional music, but the primary component of this event is the Ofrenda table. The Ofrenda features photos of lost family members that are submitted to MSC CAMAC who frames and places them. This table serves to honor, respect, and celebrate the lives of those who have passed. The advisor of MSC CAMAC, Cory Arcak stated that she hopes that this event provides an opportunity for those of other cultures to engage in open dialogue and learn about each other’s cultures.