8th Annual Day of the Dead Celebration at CSU Channel Islands on November 1st

CI celebrates Day of the Dead with ofrendas, sand murals, and dancers

CSU Channel Islands (CI) students will help professional artist Sergio Hernandez create a sand mural in front of the John Spoor Broome Library as part of CI’s 8th Annual Day of the Dead celebration.

Hernandez and the students will begin designing the sand mural in a 4-foot by 8-foot frame at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 so it will be ready for the celebration, scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m.

The public is invited to the event, which will begin with a traditional Aztec blessing, followed by a performance from Danza Tlaloc Ollin, an indigenous Aztec dance group made up of CI students.

Roberto Rodriguez of the Mexican Consulate will be among the guest speakers. He will provide an overview of the meaning, history and differences in the way the Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in various regions of Mexico.

Celebrated throughout Mexico and parts of Central and South America, the Day of the Dead is an opportunity for families to remember family and friends who have passed, and to support them on their spiritual journey. It is an ancient tradition that was transformed when the Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico more than 600 years ago.

“When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, they tried to replace the old traditions with traditions they brought from Spain,” Rodriguez said. “The celebration became a combination of the old Aztec tradition with All Saints Day, part of Spanish Catholicism.”

Ofrendas, or “offerings” describe homemade altars in homes that will contain common elements such as flowers, water, photos, and cherished articles from the deceased.

“Every article has meaning,” Rodriguez said. “And the elements are different in different parts of Mexico. In Ecatepec, for example, they prefer candles. In Michoacan, the 1st of November is dedicated to the elders and the 2nd of November is for the children.”

The CI celebration will include colorful ofrendas created by CI’s Art program. Guests are invited to view them on display in the John Spoor Broome Library Gallery.

Rodriguez explained that the Mexican states closest to the U.S. border tend to combine Halloween with the Day of the Dead, mixing jack-o-lanterns with traditional sugar skulls and the ubiquitous “La Calavera Catrina” or just “Catrina.”

Catrina is a zinc etching done in the early 1900s by a Mexican printmaker depicting a female skeleton in an elaborate hat. Catrina became synonymous with Day of the Dead. 

The event is sponsored by CI’s Art program, Intercultural Services, and the Mexican Consulate.

Limited parking is available on campus with the purchase of a $6 daily permit; follow signs to the parking permit dispensers. Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road with bus service to and from the campus.  Riders should board the CI Vista Bus to the campus; the cash-only fare is $1.25 each way. Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. For exact times, check the schedule at www.goventura.org.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.