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St. Lawrence University celebrates the dead

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CANTON — Some St. Lawrence University students and faculty members will spend 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday remembering their ancestors as part of a celebration of the holiday “Dia de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead.”

The Mexican holiday is for family and friends to gather, pray and remember their ancestors who have died.

“It’s important for us to remain in communion with the dead,” said Martha I. Chew, professor in the global studies department at SLU.

Ms. Chew is from Mexico City, but has lived all over the globe. She came to the United States in 1993 for a college education and has been teaching at SLU for 10 years. She organizes the celebration on campus every year.

“I just had to start having this celebration,” she said. “I would feel empty if I didn’t do it.”

The ceremony will be at the Dean-Eaton Formal Lounge on campus and is open to the public.

Along with performances from campus musicians, a presentation will be given by Angel Estrada, a film director and professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico.

“This year was going to be very special, because we were going to have it at the Gunnison Chapel, but we couldn’t because of the fire,” Ms. Chew said. The chapel was damaged in an Oct. 6 fire in its steeple and is not expected to be in use again until next semester.

Ms. Chew said the event will include poetry readings by members of the faculty. Refreshments and tamales will be served afterward.

She said that SLU has only a handful of Mexican students, but that all students are welcome to participate in honoring the dead.

“This celebration takes part in other Central American countries, so students who are familiar with it also have been great in participating,” Ms. Chew said.

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