Día de los Muertos, meaning Day of the Dead, is a holiday in Mexico, parts of Latin America, and the United States. This holiday honors dead loved ones and makes peace with the eventuality of death by treating it familiarly, without fear and dread. The holiday is derived from the rituals of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Mexico. Led by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as “Lady of the Dead,” the celebration lasted a month. After the Spanish arrived in Mexico and began converting the native peoples to Roman Catholicism, the holiday was moved to coincide with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1 and 2, respectively). Learn more
Dr. Court Whelan, an expert in Entomology and Ecotourism, provides an overview of the monarch butterfly, its basic life history (metamorphosis, host plants, etc.), and a deep dive into its phenomenal migration. He also discusses how they find their way and navigate, what cues them to begin migrating, why they started to migrate as a species upwards of 20,000 years ago, how the migration was discovered, and key conservation topics today.
Sociology Faculty Alicia Robles López discusses the origins and cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos along with her personal experience with the day.
“La Llorona” is a folk legend with origins throughout Mexico, the US, and Central and South America. The oldest version of the legend dates to 1550 in Mexico City. The basic legend is about a beautiful woman from a less privileged background (usually a poor Indian) who is seduced by a man of privileged status (usually a rich Spanish hidalgo). They have children, but after some time, the man leaves. In the legend, she kills her own children either because the man threatened to take them or because the woman has been driven crazy by grief, envy, or rage. Because drowning is the most common death in the many versions of this story, La Llorona is usually said to haunt waterways, and she even has a creek in Texas assumed to be a translation of her name, Woman Hollering Creek. Read more
Learn to bake Pan de Muerto with English Faculty Violeta Sanchez and Computer Science Faculty Nery Chapetón-Lamas! Notes on the Pan de Muerto Demo with Time Stamps
Written and Performed by EdLalo Carrillo, Blanca Arias, Luke Lara
“Ya Llegó el Día de los Muertos” is an original song written and performed by local North County musicians. It is a song that commemorates the day of the dead, which is celebrated in many cultures. This song is in both English and Spanish, and played with non-traditionally paired instruments. This represents the borderlands and mixture of cultures. Blanca and EdLalo are on vocals, EdLalo plays guitarrón, and Luke plays the charango. The guitarrón is a six-stringed Mexican instrument that means “big guitar.” It is typically played in Mariachi groups and is similar to a plucked bass. The charango is a ten-stringed small Andean instrument, similar to the lute, that originated in the Quechua and Aymara populations throughout the Andean corridor. This song is upbeat and signifies that celebrating the dead is festive instead of sad.