College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Clemson University to come alive for Day of the Dead


Spanish will be in the air about as much as English on Nov. 3, when a Day of the Dead celebration returns to Clemson University, with lively mariachi beats, a showing of the movie “Coco” and an altar where the living can leave offerings for loved ones who have passed on.

Now in its sixth year, the event will light up Carillon Garden next to Bowman Field from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte, right, listens to Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, speak to the crowd at a 2019 Day of the Dead celebration.

Organizers, including students, staff and faculty across the university, are holding the celebration to provide an opportunity for the area’s quickly growing Latinx community to cherish their heritage and for the broader community to learn about it, said Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and the event’s chief organizer.

“Above all, it is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who are no longer with us,” he said. “We look forward to a lively, family-friendly celebration, with lots of good music, food and remembrance. Everyone is invited! ¡Ven a celebrar con nosotros!”

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos in Spanish, started in Mexico and is now celebrated throughout Latin America and has spread to many locations across the United States.

The Clemson celebration reflects the growing influence of South Carolina’s fast-growing Latinx community.

Hispanics constituted 5.9% of the state in the 2010 U.S. Census and 6.9% by 2020. At Clemson, the number of Hispanic or Latino students has grown from 522 in 2013 to 2000 in 2022, a more-than 283% increase.

A giant skeleton in elegant dress, called a Catrina, will again be on display at the Clemson celebration, along with an altar exhibit. Guests are encouraged to bring pictures or mementos to leave in honor of deceased loved ones.

It is tradition to offer their favorite food or drink because it is thought to be an enticement to return to the realm of the living for a night, making Day of the Dead a joyful celebration of life.

Food trucks will offer a wide variety of options, and face-painting will be available. While most vendors accept credit cards, organizers suggest bringing cash just in case. It’s also a good idea to dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to picnic on the grass, they said.

Parking is free in the green and orange spaces behind Sikes Hall, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business and Douthit Hills. Those are parking lots E6, E37, and E27 and can be found on this map.

Picture galleries from the last few years and more details about the event are available at in English and in Spanish.

This year’s organizers are again a team of students, staff, and faculty volunteers from across the University.

Sponsors include the Clemson University Commission on Latino Affairs, the Division of Inclusion and Equity, Clemson Libraries, Department of Languages, the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences; the Office of the Provost; the South Carolina Botanical Garden; the College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Art.

Interested in sponsoring and/or volunteering? Contact Martinez-Duarte at!

¡Nos vemos allí!

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