The tradition of El Día de los Muertos marks a social ritual of families remembering their dead and celebrating the cycle of life and death with friends and relatives. The autumn events usually feature personalized altars made to commemorate the honorees.

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

–Spanish language and Latin American and Latino studies students will display about 15 decorated altars Nov. 3-4 in Ekstrom Library on UofL’s Belknap Campus. As part of the exhibit, other student projects will represent traditional Day of the Dead elements such as 80 giant kites, votive offerings and special bread. Altar honorees range from Nobel Prize winners to comedians.

–The South Fourth Street Day of the Dead Celebration is co-sponsored by the Latin American and Latino studies program, which will set up altars honoring former South African leader Nelson Mandela and poet Maya Angelou in a storefront in the 500 block of South Fourth Oct. 31-Nov. 12.

–Students also will volunteer during the family-oriented celebration Nov. 7 during the First Friday Trolley Hop. The 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. event will be along South Fourth Street between Broadway and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Activities will include music, flamenco and folk dancing, costumes, face painting, balloon animals, refreshments and paper flower and sugar skull crafting.

            For information about the student altars at Ekstrom Library, contact Melissa Groenewold at 502-852-4748 or For information about the downtown event, contact Thomas Edison at 502-852-8563 or

Judy Hughes
Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.