Lessons learned, applied: Students celebrate Day of the Dead, educate others

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Giant kites and cypress wreaths, sugar skulls and votive offerings, altars and paper flowers. University of Louisville students are learning about and educating others on and off campus about these seasonal elements of the annual Day of the Dead celebration that span Latin American cultures.

    Public displays in UofL’s Ekstrom Library and downtown festivities will celebrate the Hispanic customs of El Dia de los Muertos, which features social rituals honoring the cycle of life and death as well as paying tribute to loved ones.

    Here’s an overview of Day of the Dead activities organized by the Spanish section of the classical and modern languages department and the Latin American and Latino studies program:

    –Teams of Spanish language students who’ve studied the traditions will put their own spin on them and display their decorated altars and exhibits Nov. 1-5 in Ekstrom Library (lower level and third floor) on UofL’s Belknap Campus. Student projects will represent elements from different countries such as kites (Guatemala), cypress wreaths (El Salvador) and votive offerings (Mexico).

    –The South Fourth Street Day of the Dead Celebration will get help from Latin American and Latino studies student volunteers during family-oriented activities Nov. 1 at the 6-10 p.m. Republic Bank First Friday Hop. Activities in the annual event along Fourth Street near the Chestnut Street corner will include music, dancing, coloring, costumes, face painting, refreshments and the traditional crafting of tissue-paper flowers and decorating of sugar skulls.

    For information about the downtown event, contact Tricia Gray at 502-852-3309 or tricia.gray@louisville.edu. For information about student altars at Ekstrom Library, contact Melissa Groenewold at 502-852-4748 or m0groe01@louisville.edu.

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    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a communications and marketing specialist for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing, where she works in media relations and contributes to news about the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and Kent School of Social Work. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.