Sugar Skulls Take Center Stage at Día de los Muertos Celebration


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Skulls are a common symbol in Day of the Dead traditions. Event attendees will be able to decorate their own sugar skulls as part of the festivities on Oct. 31.

The office of Student Engagement and Activities (SEA) on the San Jacinto College South Campus is hosting a celebration Oct. 31 to commemorate Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos is widely celebrated in Latin American cultures, but it originated in Mexico as a tribute to the lives of deceased loved ones.  

SEA Administrative Assistant Ginnette Ruelas said she is looking forward to coordinating her first event on the South Campus, especially a holiday she did not celebrate as a child because of her grandmother’s religious background.

“As I got older, I was very interested in it,” Ruelas said. “I want everyone to know that it is not a superstition but more of a fun tradition that Latinos celebrate.” Moreover, Ruelas said her excitement grows as she helps plan the celebration’s featured activities.

Decorating sugar skulls, skull molds made from a sugar mixture, are a signature tradition that marks the holiday. Family members decorate the skulls with feathers, paint, glitter, and icing and place them as offerings on altars or the graves of loved ones. San Jac students will have an opportunity to make their own as customized souvenirs to remember the occasion.

After decorating their sugar skulls, attendees can play Lotería, Mexico’s version of BINGO. And lastly, there is the food. Every Día de los Muertos celebration features Mexican or Latin-based dishes and pastries and this year is no exception. 

In the past, late Spanish Professor Jose Antonio Robles-Rosario hosted Día de los Muertos on the Central Campus on behalf of the Modern Languages department where it grew into a popular event. Robles passed away unexpectedly in November 2015. According to San Jac’s employee newsletter, The Watercooler, he is described as charismatic, energetic, and someone who worked diligently for Día de los Muertos. 

Meanwhile, Ruelas said she looks forward to students learning more about the culture behind Día de los Muertos and above all, enjoying themselves. With respect to continuing Robles’ legacy, Ruelas said, “I got some big shoes to fill. I won’t let you [him] down.” 

The Día de los Muertos celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the atrium of the Student Center (S11) on the South Campus.