Continuing the tradition at Kean University, the Student Government Association Class of 2023, 2024 and 2025 held an event to celebrate the Day of the Dead. On Tuesday, November 1 at 6 p.m., students socialized and painted ceramic skulls for the occasion.
“We thought this would be a really fun way for students to…relieve their stress and have some fun with their friends,” said Sophomore Class President Makenzie Kuntz.
The tradition of skull painting comes from Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrating the memory of loved ones who have passed away. When it comes to the event, the Student Government Association had fun in promoting and planning the celebration.
“It was really fun ordering the stuff, promoting on social media, trying to get people to sign up for this event and making it come to life,” said Senior Class President Maheen Saeed.
Junior Class President Benjamin Lorenc agrees with his fellow colleagues. Lorenc and others wanted to make the event special in hopes of getting students involved.
“We thought decorating would be fun,” Lorenc said. “We had a lot of fun just picking out the decor items and hoping that students would come to the event.”
The festivities began as people gathered into the Miron Student Center, Room 228. While decorating skulls, students explained what they found interesting about this particular holiday.
“What interested me was the differences in culture,” said Freshman Tayna Da Cruz.
Da Cruz studies psychology at Kean and participated in the event with her friend, Freshman Ian Critchluts. Critchluts was interested in the personal meaning behind Day of the Dead.
“[To] celebrate the people who have passed that we love,” Critchluts said.
For many attending the event, they had a personal connection to the holiday. Peruvian Sophomore Josephine Carrillo celebrates a similar holiday called All Saints’ Day.
Like Day of the Dead, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1. For this day, people celebrate and honor the saints of the church. For Carillo, The Day of the Dead Celebration was a way to “continue [celebrating] far away from home.”
Students took this event as an opportunity to honor those they have lost. Additionally, they shared what role they believed deceased loved ones play in life.
“[They play] a large role in our identities and our personalities,” said Da Cruz.
Critchluts’s loved ones play an important role in his everyday life. He believes they live on through his thoughts and memories.
“We can still share the memories and a lot of things of importance that they have done,” said Critchluts.
For Carillo, she doesn’t believe that a person ever really dies. While they are not here physically, she can still feel their presence.
“They will always be with you,” Carillo said.