Día de los Muertos

Bridgewater College Students Celebrate with Disney’s “Coco”


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Remembering your loved ones during Día de los Muertos. Bridgewater College students honor the Mexican tradition and bring awareness to the culture.

Carla Rivera, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- On Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., LSA and CEAT gathered in Cole Hall to show the 2017 family movie “Coco.” The plot of “Coco” is focused on the Mexican tradition Día de los Muertos. 

The LSA combined efforts with CEAT to host the event in tribute to Día de los Muertos.

“Día de los Muertos is a celebration where families gather to honor the memories of deceased loved ones on Nov. 1 and Nov 2.” said senior Pamela Gonzalez-Encina, president of the LSA.

“The tradition itself dates back to the Aztec empire where they used to put up skulls to honor the people who passed away,” said Gonzalez-Encinca. “The tradition has become more popularized in the US and other Latin American countries. It’s just to honor your deceased ones.”

Día de los Muertos continues to grow in different countries. Anyone can celebrate their loved ones during these two days. This celebration of life is now growing to the United States and bringing more cultural awareness. 

As the movie “Coco” shows, typically Día de los Muertos is celebrated with an altar set up with pictures of deceased loved ones. Families gather and set up the deceased’s favorite food and drinks on the altar for when the deceased are believed to come and visit their living family members.  

Although there is no traditional attire to wear during this celebration in the U.S., in Mexican culture, people dress up in traditional Mexican dresses and paint their faces to resemble a skull. 

As Halloween falls directly before Día de los Muertos, it can become a commonplace error to associate the two traditions together. 

“Halloween is a completely different holiday. Day of the dead is a celebration,” said Gonzalez-Encina. “It is more of a cultural tradition than a holiday. Halloween is about dressing up and getting candy, while Día de los Muertos is to honor your deceased loved ones.” 

Día de los Muertos is celebrated as a remembrance of the loved ones that have passed away. It is a way to keep their memory alive and pass that memory to the children of the family who may not have known them personally or for very long.

“I remember watching “Coco” with my roommate for the first time and falling in love with the representation of this Mexican tradition,” said senior Lily Stonecipher. “There are so many colors and beautiful music in the movie, and I felt as though I learned so much.”

If you have yet to see “Coco,” it is currently streaming on the platform Disney+. 

“I think it’s a tradition that is worthy of being included in your family,” said Gonzalez-Encina. “I feel like it brings your family closer and it’s a way of remembering your loved ones without the sad feeling that many times a funeral brings. It’s a celebration of life.”