CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University will have ofrenda displays in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum on view through Nov. 4 in honor of Dia de Los Muertos, created by community members as well as WT students, faculty, and staff.

“Día de los Muertos is a time to expand our cultural knowledge and horizons and remember loved ones who have passed on before us,” said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences. “It is a time to honor traditions and even create new ones.”

According to the university, the ofrendas, or private memorial displays meant to honor loved ones, were installed on Oct. 29. They often incorporate sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite treats of the departed. The university and PPHM usually host around 100 displays, which are also expected to be judged for prizes.

Region 16 school districts were also able to register for tours and art activities, conducted daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the museum admission paid for by the College of Education and Social Sciences.

“This exhibition means that we have an opportunity at WT to open our doors to our community and our kindergarten through 12th-grade students,” said Dr. Beth Garcia, assistant dean and Sylvia Nugent Professor of Education. “It is a time for us to come together and celebrate cultural diversity and education.”

According to previous reports, it’s not clear when the first observance of Dia de Los Muertos took place, but it is rooted in agriculture-related beliefs from Mexico’s pre-Hispanic era, said Andrés Medina, a researcher at the Anthropological Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. While constructing ofrendas and other activities related to observing the holiday are often family-focused and performed at home and in local cemeteries, larger celebrations such as parades and other community events continue to grow and evolve with each year.