The DePaulia

Ofrendas pop up around DePaul in honor of Day of the Dead

Hector Cervantes

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In honor of Day of the Dead, Tepeyac, a Latinx cultural and faith-based organization, teamed up with other student organizations to help create ofrendas that are displayed across campus.

Tepeyac set up the ofrendas are collections of objects placed on an altar for a Day of the Dead Celebration.

In Spanish, ofrenda translates to the word “offering.” Day of the Dead was celebrated from Nov. 1-2.

People left the names, images and artifacts that reminded them of the family and friends they have lost at the ofrendas.
(Amber Colon/The DePaulia)

“One of the biggest ways the ofrendas are impacting DePaul is for our Latino students, since they are seeing something that is tied to their culture,” coordinator of Faith Formation Joshua Deleon said. “It’s something that they are used to being around at this time of the year.”

Day of the Dead is celebrated mainly in Mexico, as well as a few other Latin countries such as Guatemala and Nicaragua.

“In Day of the Dead, people create ofrendas or they go to the gravesite of their loved ones and they build beautiful arrangements of flowers, gifts, and bring possessions that they had, their favorite food, and everyone goes all out,” Tepeyac treasurer Victor Lara said.

Religious figures such as crosses, the Virgin Mary and other saints are also elements of the ofrendas and help to celebrate life as a whole.

Tepeyac decided to build the ofrendas for people to remember their loved ones who have died.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to honor the dead, pay their respects and have an outlet to say these people existed and mattered,” Deleon said. “It is a way of showing that we still love them and these people are still with us.”

Tepeyac has done the ofrendas for the Day of the Dead in the past.

“(Tepeyac) did this last year, but on a smaller scale,” Lara said. “The Catholic Campus Ministry office and the Loop chapel were the only places that had the ofrendas.”

This year, they were able to expand and set up more ofrendas than they have in the past.

“This idea ended up expanding,” Deleon said. We were only initially going to have an ofrenda in the Lincoln Park Campus and in the Loop. Now they are in the chapels, the student center and all the residential halls.”

Tepeyac cooperated with other campus groups to help make the ofrendas accessible to everyone.

“A lot of organizations helped out to make these ofrendas. I focus more on community building and having people help out,” Lara said. “It was a good turnout when we created these ofrendas.”

People have put names in the ofrendas and have already dropped stuff off to honor their loved ones.

“I thought the ofrendas were really well set up because they had a sign that explained what Day of the Dead is all about,” freshman Jessie Gonzalez said. “My family usually does the same kind of thing, but we just have pictures, we don’t really set up an altar.”

A lot of the ofrendas were quickly filled with the names and artifacts reminiscent of their lost family and friends.

“A lot of people come to the Student Center so there are more names there,” Deleon said. “It is a way of showing that many cultures of DePaul here are represented here,” Deleon said.

Lara created a ofrenda for his friend who passed away recently.

“I created one in my house where I bought my friend beer. She passed away recently and she really likes it and I put it there. I also bought Hot Cheetos and limón because she enjoyed that as well,” Lara said.

Through the ofrendas, people are able to learn about Latinx culture.

“It helps other people to get to know our culture which is something that I really liked,” Gonzalez said.

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Ofrendas pop up around DePaul in honor of Day of the Dead