HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Community College (HCC) celebrated Dia de los Muertos, the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, on Wednesday.

HCC’s El Centro program and LEA Club, the Latinx Empowerment Association, invited members of HCC and the surrounding community take part in the construction of an ofrenda on the second floor of the Campus Center.

“Our HCC ofrenda is designed as a place to celebrate indigenous, Mexican, and Latinx traditions,” said Julissa Colón, the director of El Centro. “People are invited to bring pictures of their loved ones and any offerings they’d like to include on our ofrenda community altar.”

Raúl Gutiérrez, HCC associate professor of Spanish and the coordinator of HCC’s Latinx Studies program, as well as a native of Mexico, talked about the significance of this holiday, “Now we’re trying to create this space for cultures that are Latinx cultures, to be present and celebrated here at HCC. And that’s why we decided to do the altar you can see behind me. And celebrate these different cultures and allow folks to learn how these different cultures are vibrant and alive here in the states.”

Guests also enjoyed pan de muerto, bread that is traditionally baked in Mexico during the weeks leading up to Diá de los Muertos.

“This is another opportunity for us to celebrate the unique culture of our Latinx community,” said Colón. “It should be a really beautiful event.”