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Office of Graduate Education Stanford Biosciences Office of Graduate Education

Dia de los Muertos Celebration

BioAIMS and SBSA would like to invite you to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Day) this week. We will have an ofrenda set up for you to bring items to remember loved ones. On Friday Nov. 4, 12-1pm on the 4th Floor of LKSC we will have pan dulce (sweet bread) and hot chocolate available for pick up. Please RSVP here!

More information about Día de los Muertos:

The Day of the Dead is a holiday traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2, though other days. It largely originated in Mexico, where it is mostly observed, but also in other places, especially by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. Although associated with the Western Christian Allhallowtide observances of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, it has a much less solemn tone and is portrayed as a holiday of joyful celebration rather than mourning. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and to remember friends and family members who have died. These celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Traditions connected with the holiday include honoring the deceased using calaveras (skulls) and aztec marigold flowers known as cempazúchitl, building home altars called ofrendas with the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these items as gifts for the deceased. The celebration is not solely focused on the dead, as it is also common to give gifts to friends such as candy sugar skulls, to share traditional pan de muerto with family and friends, and to write light-hearted and often irreverent verses in the form of mock epitaphs dedicated to living friends and acquaintances, a literary form known as calaveras literarias.