Students of Nazarbayev University celebrated Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), a traditional Mexican holiday honoring ancestors. NU invited the community to learn more about Mexican culture by hosting the “COCO Fest”, its adaptation of the holiday. To highlight the holiday’s importance worldwide, UNESCO included it to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. This year’s COCO Fest marks the first time Nazarbayev University has celebrated Día de Muertos.
On the eve of the holiday, a “Calaveritas” poetry contest was held for students, where festival participants learned about the origins of Día de Muertos, and the traditions surrounding the celebration. All decorations, including altars and colored skulls (i.e., Calaveras), were made by students by hand. The winner of the poem competition was 9-year-old Dilara, the daughter of one of the professors at the university.
Other festival events included a trivia competition about the holiday, the cartoon “Coco” and Mexican traditions in general. Coco Fest was organized by the Spanish Club NU, the LOUD Club, the Association of International Students, the Creative Club and the Dance Club “Latino”.