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Day of the Dead Observance

The Hispanic Cultural Center hosts an annual Sugar Skull Decorating event.  Sugar skulls are a tradition of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is a celebration of life and honoring deceased loved ones. 

Remembrance Slips

Day of the Dead is about remembering and honoring deceased loved ones.  Stop by MUC 213 to complete a remembrance slip by Friday, October 26.  On the slip, list a name and feel free to share a favorite memory. These will be used in the Day of the Dead exhibit.

Why the monarch butterfly? The Purépecha (also known as Tarascans) Indians of the northwestern region of the Mexican state of Michoacán, believed that the monarch butterflies are the souls of the dead.  Every year, monarch butterflies travel over 2,00 miles from the northeast United States and southeastern Canada to the oyamel trees in the Sierra Madre hills above the village of Angangueo, Mexico.  The monarch butterflies return to Mexico on the first of November which is also the Day of the Dead.  

What does the color orange signify?

Orange symbolizes an Aztec mourning, as well as the sun.  It is also the color of the marigold (Cempazuchitl in Nahuatl) and which is said to attract the spirits to the altars.

Remembrance slips

Day of the Dead Exhibit

Students interested in learning more about Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) can stop by the MUC Third Floor Gallery space from October 28 through November 1.  There will be an altar (which is used to honor the dead), hanging remembrance slips, and a gallery of photos explaining the different traditions associated with Day of the Dead.  

Morgan University Center, Third Floor Gallery Space

Monday, October 28, 2013 - Friday, November 1, 2013

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Closing Reception including remarks from contributors and pan de muerto (day of the dead bread)

Morgan University Center, Third Floor Gallery Space

Friday, November 1, 2013

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


  • Armani Bonilla: "El Cráneo del Recuerdo." (Portrait). This is an oil painting of a realistic skull with day of the dead inspired designs.  There are two flowers coming from behind the skull.  One is wilted and the other is not; representing both life and death, while the skulls represents the celebration of the day of the dead.
  • Antonia Cassida: "Catrina." (Portrait). An abstract rendering of the sugar skull in black and white with colored flowers and a butterfly.
  • Kathleen Dehring: "It's the Rileys." (Ofrenda/Altar) Kathleen is of Irish Traveler (pavee) who have this tradition that evolved from being a mobile people who will bury a loved one in a location and maybe not see that grave yard again. She assembled her altar with its saints and such.
  • Students from Professor Virginia Griswold’s class created a grouping of calaveras, cast and sculpted in plaster.

    Alex Wurts

    Antonio Kemper

    Alexa Green

    Dan Van Winkle

    Heather Spalding. "Traces"

    Jordan Gibby

    Justin Warren

    Lauren McKinney

    Marcus Eiland

    Michael Yount

    Rachel Qualls

    Winn Ellis

    Tristen Adkins

  • Kay Papenfuss: "Midnight Breeze," "Frankenstein," and "No Brain, No Headache." (Quilts)
  • Daisy Torres: 1) "For Domestic Violence Victims" (Ofrenda/Altar). 2) "Migrant Death on the Border" (Ofrenda/Altar). 3) "Ni Una Mas: For the Women of Juarez" (Ofrenda/Altar). 4) "Noqa Llaqtay: For Tio Antonio" (Ofrenda/Altar)
  • Brittany Woelk: 1) Bienvenida a Casa. (Ofrenda/Altar). My altar commemorates both of my grandfathers who played an important role in my life. Their characteristics displayed on this altar inspire me to be the best I can be. 2) Mariposa de Vida. (Portrait). My calavera is a portrait of myself that exemplifies my unique personality and transitions through out life. The monarch butterfly symbolizes my journey in life. Monarch butterflies gracefully migrate traveling long distances from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada. 
  • Duck McIntosh from Tattoo Technique (129 Franklin St.)
  • Ferst from Tattoo Technique (129 Franklin St.)
  • Seige from from Tattoo Technique (129 Franklin St.)
  • Roly M Viruez from Tattoo Technique (129 Franklin St.)

Sugar Skull Decorating

AP Building Lobby at Fort Campbell

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Includes tasting pan de  muerto (day of the dead bread) , sugar skull decorating, and day of the dead buttons for the first 20 students.  Also help build an altar (ofrenda) to help honor deceased loved ones.


Morgan University Center Lobby

Thursday, October 31, 2013

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Includes sugar skull decorating for the first 130 students.

Day of the Dead Film Screening

Hispanic Cultural Center (MUC 213)

Friday, November 1, 2013

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Films will highlight the traditions associated Day of the Dead.  

Day of the Dead Traditions

Inside the house, family members set up altars to honor deceased loved ones with various offerings (ofrendas) such as portraits or photographs, bread, water, foods, flowers, toys, and paper flowers.  Visit this link to see a traditional altar.  Modern altars have been made to focus on social issues.  At the University of Louisville, an altar was dedicated to Yuma 14, who were undocumented immigrants who died in the Arizona desert after being abandoned by smugglers. Visit this link to see an image of a modern altar.

Day of the Dead Art Gallery Application

Theme: Govs Cherish and Share

APSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to submit an application to set up an altar or showcase a retablo (remembrance box) or portrait (of a calavera/skull face painting).  Hispanic Cultural Center staff will review all submissions and notify all applicants on October 24 if their application has been approved.


09/18                     Informational Meeting (11:30am-12:00pm in MUC 213)

09/20                     Informational Meeting (2-2:30pm in MUC 213)

09/24                     Informational Meeting (4:30-5pm in MUC 213)

09/26                     Informational Meeting (1-1:30pm in MUC 213)

09/30                     Application Deadline I

10/04                     Round I Applicants Notified

10/23                     Application Deadline II

10/24                     Round II Applicants Notified

10/26-11/28           Set up

10/28-11/1            Altar On display (in MUC Third Floor Art Gallery)

11/1                       Closing Reception (3-4:30pm in MUC Third Floor Art Gallery)

By submitting an entry, you are making a commitment to participate if selected.