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Día De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated November first

Isabella Cummings
Giselle Ramírez-Garcia with “wings up” during the interview in Fort Myers, Florida on October 22nd, 2021.

Florida Gulf Coast University's Latin American Student Organization faced a challenge in planning this year’s Día de los Muertos event: The day is a celebration honoring those who have passed away. But after a pandemic with so many people taken from us, striking the right balance was crucial for the planners.

Giselle Ramírez-Garcia, the Vice President of the club says many people don’t realize that the day is often celebratory. She’s a senior who has celebrated Guatemala's version of Día De Los Muertos her whole life.

"People think it's just a sad day, but in reality, it's a day for remembrance and reverence to celebrate the lives of those who have been lost, but not necessarily to mourn or grieve," said Ramírez-Garcia.

"I know for me, before the pandemic I didn’t really have anyone for Día de Los Muertos but I did lose someone in Guatemala. Latin America was hit really hard and there were a lot of deaths in those countries. Día De Los Muertos serves as a place for people to kind of set aside those heavy feelings and sadness. And instead of dwelling on the what ifs or grieving, celebrate the lives that were lost to the pandemic and remember them and honor them, letting go of that sadness."