Students work on downtown, campus Day of the Dead celebrations


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A downtown Day of the Dead celebration plus public displays in Wayside Christian Mission’s Hotel Louisville and the University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Library will showcase student involvement in the colorful Hispanic custom of honoring the lives of special people.

    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. The autumn events usually feature personalized altars to commemorate the honorees.

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

    –The South Fourth Street Day of the Dead Celebration is co-sponsored by the Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) program, whose students will volunteer during the family-oriented activities Nov. 6 during the First Friday Trolley Hop 5-9 p.m. Activities along Fourth Street between Broadway and Muhammad Ali Boulevard will include music, dancing, costumes, face painting, refreshments and the traditional crafting of paper flowers and sugar skulls.

    –The LALS students also set up an altar at Hotel Louisville, 120 W. Broadway, where employees and residents put photos and mementos to honor their loved ones; the display also pays tribute to homeless people who perish because they lack shelter. That altar will remain on display through Nov. 8.

    –Spanish language students will display about 10 decorated altars Nov. 2-4 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 giant kites, votive offerings and special bread.

    For information about the downtown events, contact Rhonda Buchanan at 502-852-2034 or For information about student altars at Ekstrom Library, contact Melissa Groenewold at 502-852-4748 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.