Traditions of Dia de los Muertos

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez & Kayla Arellano

Día de los muertos is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated on November 1st and November 2nd. It originated in Mexico and Central America. This holiday is celebrated by many Mexicans to remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away. 

On November 1st, we honor the children who have passed away and on November 2nd, we honor the adults. This holiday is a celebration of life, not death. 

There are many traditions that Mexicans do when this time comes around in the year. One of them is putting up an altar and una ofrenda. An altar is a way where you honor your loved ones by setting up a table with some pictures of them, some of their belongings, and memorable objects.

Every ofrenda includes 4 elements which are: wind, water, earth and fire. 

  • Papel picado, or the traditional paper banners, represent the wind. Many beautiful and vibrant colors are used for this. You fold the paper, cut it up, then you open it and it creates a pattern so you can hang up around the altar.
  • On the altar, they leave water so the spirits can drink it when they come and visit.
  • Earth is represented by food. Some traditional food that is placed on the altar are pan de muerto, tamales, sugar skulls, champurrado, mole, and some people put the deceased’s favorite food.
  • Fire is represented by candles. People set up their candles in the shape of a cross so the spirits can find their way to the altar.

Another way spirits find their way from the cemetery to their family’s homes is by making a path with a traditional flower that is called Cempasúchil flower, or in English, Mexican Marigold flower. It’s a very beautiful flower with a vibrant color. 

Another tradition that is done in Mexico to celebrate your loved one is music and dancing. There is a traditional dance that is called “Danza de los Viejitos” (“Dance of Little Old Men”). This dance is danced by boys or young men dressed as old men with a cane who walk slowly then suddenly they jump up with a lot of energy and start dancing. 

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Gruesome revenge: ‘I Saw the Devil’

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I Saw the Devil’ is a Korean film which was released in 2010, and was directed by Kim Jee-woon. In my previous reviews, I’ve often gone into detail on the director, cast, release, and plot in general. However, I find myself wanting to avoid describing this film as much as possible. This does pose some problems as a review is, well, a review.

‘I Saw the Devil’s’ plot is something I will try to avoid spoiling or detailing as much as possible, however, the central point is hard to not talk about. The film revolves around the gruesome murder of Kim Soo-hyeon’s fiancé. Kim Soo-hyeon, a heavily trained secret agent, makes it his duty to track down the killer and avenge his fiancé. However, the vengeance isn’t as simple as one may assume. In films like ‘John Wick’, the plot is simple; a character important to the protagonist is killed, and so the protagonist tracks down and kills or catches the antagonist. ‘I Saw the Devil’ takes a different route.

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It does not take Soo-hyeon long at all to catch the killer, and whilst brutally assaulting this man, Soo-hyeon decides to let him live. He places a tracker into Kyung-chul, the killer, and repeatedly attacks him for the rest of the film. Another monster has been created by a monster.

But, this film is not as simple as following the creation of a monster thanks to revenge. No, the film chronicles nearly constant violence. When I say that this film is not for the faint of heart, I mean it. Many films pose as such and yet barely reach an R-rating. However, ‘I Saw the Devil’ more than earns its R-rating. This film is one of the most brutal and disturbing films I’ve seen, and yet it somehow manages to not be in poor taste, and not go over the top into absurdity.

Once again, I must stress the disgusting and deeply disturbing events that continually happen practically one after another with very little down time. There is constantly blood and violence, however, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. Depictions of cannibalism, severed bodies, decapitation, attempted rape, mutilation, and torture are all on-screen multiple times throughout the film. This is why I find myself unable to recommend this film, despite the fact it is an incredible film with an enthralling and action-packed story.

However, if you believe you can handle the violence, or even get a kick out of it, then I’d advise caution, but would urge you to see the film. ‘I Saw the Devil’ somehow manages to use its continual gruesome violence to teach a valuable lesson on the dangers of revenge, and the horrid lengths humans will attempt to reach just to inflict pain on another.