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Religion historian to speak on Mexican Days of the Dead
Religion historian to speak on Mexican Days of the DeadOctober 03, 2003Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
David Carrasco, historian of religion at Harvard Divinity School, will visit Syracuse University Oct. 9 to speak on “Mexican Days of the Dead: From Aztec Sacrifice to Chicano Murals.
The presentation begins at 5 p.m. in the 1916 Room of E.S. Bird Library and is presented by the Department of Religion and the Latino Latin-American Studies Program in The College of Arts and Sciences. A reception will follow.
Each Nov. 2, the Day of the Dead is marked throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States with pictures of deceased persons, food and drink and candles placed on church altars. Families present gifts at altars to let departed loved ones know that they are remembered, and some families throw picnics at cemeteries with the deceased as guests of honor.
Carrasco will speak on the history of the Day of the Dead–or Dia de los muertos–from its beginnings as an Aztec celebration to its modern observances. The Day of the Dead began as an Aztec celebration, where skeletons and skulls were symbols of death and rebirth. Instead of fearing death, the Aztecs embraced it and considered it a gateway to a higher level of consciousness, like awakening from a dream to real life.
As an historian of religion who holds joint appointments in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and the Harvard Divinity School, Carrasco is deeply immersed in the study of Mesoamerican cultures. He is editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures and author of “City of Sacrifice: The Aztec Empire and the Role of Violence in Civilization” (Beacon Press, 2000). Carrasco is also the first Latino faculty member at the Harvard Divinity School and the first Rudenstine Chair in Latin American Studies.
Call Tere Panigua at 443-3133 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.