Anthropology Club holds annual Día de los Muertos Workshop


Tristan Subbie, biology major, decided to use his normal template for drawing suns to decorate his skull. “I think it looks nice with the circles, almost like it symbolizes the circle of life,” Subbie said. Jaime Solis/The Union

Students decorated pre-made paper mâché skulls with items like glitter, fabrics and paints during the yearly Día de los Muertos Workshop presented by El Camino College’s Anthropology Club Thursday, Oct. 17.

Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a Spanish celebration on November 2, where the dead are remembered with parties, food, sugar skulls and ofrendas (offerings) where pictures of dead relatives are put on display on an alter to be honored.

“It feels like you get engaged in this kind of artistic expression thats actually therapeutic,” Angela Mannen, ECC anthropology professor, said. “You just kind of zone out and engage in an activity like this.”

Along with members of the Anthropology Club, a student club at ECC, Mannen and Marianne Waters put on the workshop every year.

Although it is usually a two day event where students get to make the paper mâché skulls on a Tuesday and decorate them on a Thursday, the event was cut to one day due to unforeseen events.

A decorated paper mâché designed by an El Camino College student during the Día de los Muertos Workshop Thursday, Oct. 17.

But, the workshop was so successful last year that faculty requested one be put on for them, Mannen said.

Decorated skulls along with an ofrenda and other items used for Día de los Muertos are currently on display at ECC’s Schauerman Library.