‘La Calaca’ Festival brings a taste of Hispanic Culture

Samantha Sigler, Associate Editor

In celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, also known as the “Day of the Dead,” several Linfield College clubs combined strengths to create a week-long festival for all to enjoy Oct. 26 to Nov. 2.

MEChA, Spanish Club and the Linfield Activities Board worked together to get more students interested in the event.

“I feel so many clubs on campus these days are not aware of how much ASLC and LAB can be a resource for us,” said Maria Raquel Escalera Gonzalez, co-president of MEChA, in an email. “It is a bit surprising and refreshing to have groups like LAB reach out to us instead of us having to reach out to them and figure out their system.”

MEChA set up a traditional altar was set up on Oct. 26 in the Fred Meyer Lounge for students to visit throughout the week. The altar had candles, sugar skulls, tissue paper and pictures of celebrities that have passed away.

“The people who died didn’t want to be mourned,” said junior Lorena Alvarez, co-president of the Spanish Club. “They wanted to be celebrated.”

At the end of the week Linfield’s Spanish Club, MEChA and the Linfield Activities Board hosted a “Calacas Festival” (calacas means “skull” in Spanish). The festival had multiple activities for students to enjoy, including face painting, decorating sugar skulls, learning how to salsa dance and listening to the band Dina y Los Rumberos.

“It’s something that I feel like should happen every year from now on,” Alvarez said. “Hispanic Heritage Day is a basic thing we do, but it’s important to do other things that involve cultural traditions not just from Mexico.”

Guests were also given a taste of Dia de Los Muertos as they enjoyed the festival. Dia de los Muertos pan dulce was served with hot chocolate, a common food this time of year in Hispanic countries.

“I want students and staff to learn about the cultural significance of Dia de Los Muertos as not just a ‘Mexican thing,’ but as a way to bond with others around us from different cultures over something that happens to all of us–the shared experience of life and death,” Gonzalez said. “It can be a beautiful thing to come together and remember our loved ones via Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.”