AWC celebrates Dia De Los Muertos with altars, Catrinas and Catrines competition
You may be working your way through candy and retail stores have quickly moved on from the spooky season but you may have seen some painted faces and decorations around the desert southwest in the couple days after Halloween.
Students, faculty and staff at Arizona Western College in Yuma remembered deceased loved ones this past week for Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
For AWC, that meant beautiful colorful altars in the cafeteria dedicated to parents, grandparents, relatives and some to celebrities including "Friends" actor Matthew Perry, who died this past week.
AWC also held a Catrinas and Catrines competition. The word "catrina" comes from La Calavera Catrina, or "the elegant skull" who wears an embroidered bonnet with flowers. Males who use the white and black skull makeup are called catrines. If you've seen the Disney film "Coco" you will be familiar with altars and skull figures.
Angelina Rose Montijo wore a royal blue dress with peacock feathers in honor of her late father Rene. She took first place in the Catrinas contest.
"My dad was from Mexicali and his favorite color was blue," Montijo said. "I incorporated a cactus because he worked in the fields and cigarettes as part of my sash because he smoked."
Montijo said she began making her dress at the beginning of the year. With a cardboard poster with pictures of her father in an altar, it added more than 30 pounds to the outfit.
"For me, Dia De Los Muertos means coming together as a family and remembering the good times," she said.
Ana Karen Dozal took second place in the Catrinas contest and Michelle Cruz of San Luis was third.
Cruz said her dress was given to her by her late grandmother. She added a feather headdress with materials purchased in Mexicali.
"(Dia De Los Muertos) is one day of the year that you don't feel sad about your loved ones (who have passed away) because they are with you," she said.