Students color calaveras, Spanish for skulls, and other items for the memorial at the John C. Hitt Library.

UCF showcases, “El Dia De Los Muertos,” a documentary film about the Mexican holiday at the John C. Hitt Library on Nov. 1.

The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico that recognizes and celebrates the members of one’s family that have died. It is a multi-day celebration starting on Oct. 31 and ending Nov. 2.


Beatriz Reyes-Foster, associate professor of anthropology, said a big way of celebration is making an altar for the dead relative. Families often will decorate the altar or shrine with pictures of the family member, salt, water, and some of their favorite foods, she said. 


“The idea is that when the dead come back, they get to enjoy their favorite food when they were alive,” Reyes-Foster said.


Other things that people put in the altars are flowers, religious items and the famous calavera, Spanish for skull, that is decorated and often seen around this holiday.

During the presentation, a documentary was shown to explain the true meaning of the holiday and give a more in depth look at the celebration. 

One student, who doesn’t celebrate The Day of the Dead, liked to see the real perspective on the holiday rather than just how it’s interpreted in pop culture movies. 

“It’s nice to see it from an actual cultural view,” said Kathleen Silva, human communications major. “To record in Mexico and see how they actually celebrate the holiday and day to day life experiences.”

In Silva’s family, and most families in America, death is somewhat of a sensitive topic. Loved ones are kept in memory, but it isn’t talked about as often after the funeral. Silva said she liked the fact that this is a chance to celebrate the loved ones that were lost every year. 

One problem that the event ran into this year was attendance. Only four people showed up to the event. Reyes-Foster said that in past years they had a much bigger turnout. She said advertising could have been an issue.

“Maybe more visible advertising for it and getting more faculty to buy into it,” Reyes-Foster said. “Sending it out to lots of faculty members and inviting their students from different departments.”