Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at Yale-NUS College Library

Pictures of performers and Ambassador

Parviz Foroughian – Drums, Hilda Diaz-Dancer, Ambassador Nathán Wolf Lustbaderadona Ridley-story teller, Lidia Riveros

Exhibition 3-November- 15 November 2017. 

On Friday 3 November,  Yale-NUS College Library welcomed Ambassador Nathán Wolf Lustbader to the to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and open the exhibition altar.

The exhibition of the iconic altar was created in collaboration with Lidia Riveros who tirelessly put together our amazing altar. In addition to the altar, we had a performance by Madonna Ridley-storyteller, Hilda Diaz-Dancer, Parviz Foroughian – Drums. The performance featured the myth of the day of the dead as well as a dancer and drummer.

This pre-Colombian festival is considered a manifestation of the traditions and belief systems of the people of Mexico at the time of the Aztecs (1300-1521). However, aspects of this tradition can be traced back thousands of years to the various indigenous cultures living in the central and south Mexico.

The Aztecs saw death as a natural part of the Cycle of Life and something to be both accepted and celebrated. Originally, the Day of the Dead festival was held, over a period of a month, during the 9th month of the Aztec Calendar.

However, after the successful conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish (1519-1521) and the subsequent Christian Evangelization of the new colony, the day of the festival was moved to coincide with the Catholic observance of “All Saints Day”, a 3-day celebration dedicated to honoring and remembering the dead.


It is a Mexican holiday celebrated by Mexicans all over the world on 2nd of November. The celebration is an occasion for families and friends to get together and remember their loved ones who have passed away.


The main purpose of the altar is to hold the “ofrenda” (offering) for the deceased. This could be their favorite food, drink, an item of clothing, or a musical instrument.