One of the best parts of studying abroad is the chance to share your culture and the opportunity to experience others. One great way to explore this multiculturality is by joining different clubs and societies. The University of Leeds has more than 300 clubs and societies and one of them is the Mexican Society in Leeds.
The MexSocLeeds is a space for expression, support and integration of the Mexican culture in Leeds, actually, here I met a few of my closest friends. Also, meeting other nationals gives you the chance to enlarge your network with other fellow nationals who are also studying in the UK.
One of the most particular festivities in Mexico is the Day of the Dead. Contrary to what it might seem, this is a colourful and joyful celebration where family and friends get together to celebrate and honour the lives of our loved ones who have passed away.
On this holiday, ofrendas (offerings) are created to honour the person or people who the offering will be. The altars have the picture of them and are decorated with yellow flowers, they are called cempasúchil flowers and are particularly used on this date. There is also the favourite foods and drinks of the people honoured. There are also candles that will guide the dead back. The ofrenda is supposed to encourage the dead to come back to try their favourite food and join the celebration of their life.
Last year, and knowing how important this celebration is, the MexSocLeeds decided to share this peculiar holiday with the University of Leeds community. The ofrenda was made in honour of one of our member’s Grandma. And in the altar you can see her picture, her favourite foods and drinks. Also, calaveras (skulls) and papel picado (the pink and purple paper in the back) are part of the decoration in all offerings.
Also, as part of this event, we shared a little workshop about how to do papel picado. Many students were curious about this celebration because they realised that this day of the dead was not scary, rather death was seen as a happy celebration. We also shared the traditional pan de muerto (a traditonal bread that people eat on this day) and hot chocolate.
Sadly, because of the current situation, we could not celebrate Day of the Dead this year in Leeds. But if you want to know more or join the MexSocLeeds you can check our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MexSocLeeds) and our LUU page (https://www.luu.org.uk/clubs-and-societies/browse-clubs-and-societies/mexican/).