When Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, arrives, family members of departed souls set out water, candles, food and decorated sugar skulls to welcome their lost loved ones. Widely celebrated in Latin America, the day honors the dead as living entities. It celebrates the departed, and helps keep them present in life.

Student-made sugar skulls will be display at the Oct. 31 event

Dia de los Muertos is a tradition at CSU Monterey Bay, where now-retired Professor Amalia Mesa-Bains started it 17 years ago. This year's celebration will be held on Oct. 31 at the Visual and Public Art Department complex. The public is invited to attend this free event.

The celebration will begin at 4 p.m. with face painting in the Student Center on the campus quad. At 5 o'clock, the procession will head to the VPA complex on Inter-Garrison Road and Fifth Avenue, where the celebration will begin at 6 p.m.

Performances by Aztec dancers and musicians will highlight the evening. Altars will be on display; pan dulce and hot chocolate will be served. 

Each year, the event is organized by students enrolled in VPA 209, Day of the Dead workshop. This year, members of the student art club, Raising Eyebrows, were also involved.

Driving directions and a campus map

Photo by Tom Burns
These student-made sugar skulls will be on display at CSUMB's Day of the Dead celebration Oct. 31


In 2009, KQED, the Public Broadcasting System affiliate in San Francisco, filmed a story on the VPA class taught by Dr. Amalia Mesa-Bains. View it here