Adrienne Scott, Curator, Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Each year, Chico Experience Week introduces new students and their hopeful parents to Chico State and its namesake town in a fun way, coaxes alumni and alumnae back to revel in fond memories of collegiate life, and, of course, reminds current students and faculty how awesome and diverse our university and town can be.

This October, the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology will be more than a five-minute respite from the activities outdoors. We’re hosting a series of events related to the traditional Mexican holiday Day of the Dead throughout the month of October. This collaborative effort with the on-campus and local Hispanic communities is meant to encourage visibility and understanding about an important facet of Chico’s diverse population.

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is an oft-misunderstood holiday mistaken for “Mexican Halloween.” Day of the Dead takes place on November 2nd this year. While there can be face painting and spooky decorations involved, this holiday is one of remembrance; families gather to celebrate and remember the lives of their loved ones who have passed away.

We’re kicking off our celebration in the Museum of Anthropology lobby on Wednesday, October 12.  At 11 a.m., the public is invited to join us in the interactive construction of a traditional Day of the Dead altar. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the process by asking questions about the symbolic images, objects, and colors being incorporated into the altar. After the altar is completed, we will be designing calacas (skull masks), making paper marigolds, and painting faces!  Traditional Aztec dancers will bless the altar as well.

That’s not the only Day of the Dead event we are hosting during Chico Experience Week, either! Families with children (and children at heart) are invited to visit on Saturday, October 15 from noon-4:00 p.m. to learn more about the altar, create masks and marigolds, and sample Day of the Dead treats like hot chocolate and sweet bread.

Speaking of the Chico Experience Week…

The Chico Experience Week brings Chico State students, alumni, parents, and friends together for 10 days of fun, education, and reconnection with friends, the campus, and the wonderful City of Chico. Whether you already live in Chico or haven’t been back in a while, you are sure to enjoy The Chico Experience!

Sponsored by the Chico State Alumni Association, The Chico Experience Week will tie together the campus and local organizations and businesses to create a menu of activities for a wide range of audiences. More than 90 events will be held throughout the week. Campus events include Greek Week, Alumni Glen Ribbon Cutting, Chico Chapter Fall Mixer,  AS Fall Academic Fair, athletics events, and Family Weekend. Off campus, enjoy Chico Velo’s Fallflower Ride, the Downtown Chico Business Association’s Window Decorating contest and Harvest Sidewalk Sale, Sierra Oro Farm Trail’s Passport Weekend, Butte Humane Society’s Furry Scurry Fun Walk & Festival, and numerous Artoberfest events.

Click here to learn more about The Chico Experience Week!

-Sue Anderson, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations/Chico Experience Week Coordinator