Alianza Latina Curated Ofrenda for Día de los Muertos

Photos collected for Alianza Latina’s ofrenda in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library are a compilation of late family members of Andover students and famous Latine people.

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a celebration that typically takes place throughout November 1st and 2nd. Traditionally celebrated in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage, the holiday is an opportunity for people to remember and honor their late loved ones through a variety of traditions; including setting up a table– called an ofrenda– decorated with offerings, flowers, and pictures of the dead. Alianza Latina, the Latine affinity space at Andover, set up an ofrenda in the library on October 31. 

BRIAN CHICA-HERRERA ’24 || Colombian-American

“Personally, I don’t celebrate Día de los Muertos, but I really wanted to learn more about how to set up an ofrenda, because the celebration is really important to people that are close to me… I think it’s fun to learn about how other people celebrate their ancestors. For example, here in the ofrenda there were pictures of loved ones, and pictures of famous people that aren’t necessarily Mexican. So although it’s more of a focused holiday, seeing how it has connections to other parts of the community is important.”


“I think the library is the place where more students go to when they want to do work or hang out with their friends. So there’s a lot of movement in and out, and we wanted students to be able to look at it. We didn’t want it to be hidden in [the Community and Multicultural Development Office] (CaMD) where only we would be able to see it, we felt that this is an important part of Latinidad that we wanted to share with others.”

KIANNA JEAN-FRANCOIS ’23 || Haitian-Puerto Rican-American

“Alianza Latina just wants to bring awareness to Día de los Muertos because it is a holiday originating from Mexico to give love and bring respect to our dead family members or loved ones. And we want students to be able to participate even if it’s not a celebration of their own culture. I personally learned about it through Alianza Latina, so what we do is we set up an ofrenda in the library lobby and we set up some decorations… So we just give this ofrenda space and set this up so students can put pictures of their loved ones, or people who they admire that they’d like to put up there.”

ANGIE CEBALLOS ’25 || Dominican-Guatemalan-American

“To me, having the ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos in the library is a way for [Latine students] to really connect Alianza as a group and as a family, and really create a space for people to connect with traditions back at home or even introduce a new tradition to people who never really celebrated themselves or know that much about it… For me, having this set-up really allowed me to understand this tradition because I don’t celebrate it myself. But I understand the significance of it and how significant it is to other cultures. It was fun learning about what ofrendas mean and I’m very grateful to have one set up in the library, it was definitely a way to strengthen the community and help people feel back at home.”

JULIANA REYES ’24 || Mexican-American

“There definitely is a shift [in the way I celebrate Día de los Muertos] being at Andover. I don’t have access to the same things as I would at home. Resources are kind of scarce, like I can’t get conchas or food to place on the ofrenda for the person I’m making it for. So I definitely have to be more resourceful––the ofrenda [in the library] helps bridge that gap. Now, if I’m like, ‘I feel sad because I don’t see [the celebration] here,’ I can just walk in the library and I see it… [Alianza Latina] had an email sent out where we had students send pictures [of their dead loved ones] so we could print them out and put them on the ofrenda.”

FRED JAVIER ’23 || Dominican-American

“I helped set up the ofrenda [with Alianza]. I set up the ofrenda in order to bring forward this tradition into a more mainstream, public Andover space of commemorating the tradition in the way it’s supposed to be. I think there’s a lot of interpretations that have been made that are a washed down or incorrect version of what Día de los Muertos is and by doing the ofrenda we can show a more authentic way of celebrating Día de los Muertos.” 

ANTHONY DIAZ ’25 || Mexican-Salvadorian 

“I usually celebrate when I’m back home with my mom and my family in general. It’s a nice way of honoring the dead, and my dad recently passed away so it’s kind of honoring him in spirit even though I wasn’t there in California… Usually we would go to graveyards to honor the dead, with other families in my area as well, we do it all together. And I feel like it was similar with Alianza where we all went together, but we only honored them by making papel picado and putting up the typical decorations for Día de Muertos which is different… [Latin American] culture is special in a different sense where we celebrate the dead, we don’t think of it as a time of mourning, and while we do mourn it’s in a way of happiness, and celebration.”