Students celebrate Día de los Muertos with a poetry show
The Día de los Muertos celebrations kicked off Monday with a poetry show hosted by Oyé, a Latin speaking and poetry group.
The performance, held at Sudler Hall, was Oyé’s first in-person event this year. It commemorated the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, which took place on November 1 and 2. Eleven poets performed oral creations and poetry inspired by the party.
“I was standing and listening to all the voices, and all the emotion was so strong in this room,” said Zahra Yarali ’24, one of the MCs at the event. “That was what motivated our planning, making sure the event made room for genuine conversation and emotion. “
The event was organized around the theme of the dead. Andonny Garcia ’22, the event’s first performer, said in his performance that his poetry was crafted with Día de los Muertos in mind while listening to music. He spoke aloud about the music and, through many sessions, condensed what he said into one of the poems he performed, “Untitled”. He performed a second poem, “Habibi”, in tribute to a deceased friend.
The opportunity to sing poetry brought some students back to their roots.
“It was a great opportunity for me to think about home and think about my culture in a space that I don’t really have a lot of opportunities to think about,” said Regina Sung ’24, a photo editor for the News who was MC and performer at the event. “Even inserting a few words of Spanish in my poems allows me to reconnect. “
Sung performed his poem “Instrucciones for my Funeral”.
Lexa Pulido ’24, one of the organizers of the event, also remembers her home thinking of Día de los Muertos. Pulido was born and raised in Mexico and celebrated Día de los Muertos with her family every year.
“Every day of the dead, my family put up an altar, una ofrenda… My mother and I would go to the cemetery and visit the dead because my mother said that the dead should be visited,” Pulido said. “[She said] “We need to remember the people who died. “
The event, however, was above all a celebration. Organizers of the event arranged lights to accompany each poem and set up an altar at the center of the stage with yellow marigolds, food offerings, and photos of poets and their loved ones.
Ninety-seven people registered for the event. Participants had to show proof of pre-registration to enter Sudler Hall and all performers and members of the public remained masked for the duration of the performances in order to meet Yale’s COVID-19 guidelines.
“It was a different kind of celebration, but it was still in the mood to have a good time,” Sung said.
Oyé meets every other Monday at 8 p.m. at La Casa Cultural at 301 Crown Street.