ST. CLOUD -- Honoring those who have died, connecting with their spirits and enjoying each other's company, this is the theme of a well known Mexican holiday.

St. Cloud Technical and Community College students celebrated those who have come before Wednesday with the 3rd annual Day of the Dead celebration. SCTCC Spanish instructor, Vicky Capitzke says the event takes students away from a traditional classroom environment.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for students to do more hands on learning and show the community, show the college, what they are doing in their classes."

Three Spanish classes helped organize the event which included Spanish students, art students and culinary arts students.

Managing the sugar skull decorating table student, Amelia Carter says her booth brings out the child in you.

"I'm manning the sugar skulls decorating station, it's where we take sugar, egg whites, and water, we mold them into skulls. And then we take our frosting and decorate them."

Carter says the sugar skulls are typically apart of the November 1 festivities that are centered around kids.

"The sugar skulls are more for November 1 because kids love sugar and November 2 is about adults who have passed on."

Capitzke says the holiday has a long history in Mexican culture. She says it dates back to the Azteks and when the Spanish came into Mexico the holiday became a mixture of the native celebration of Day of the Dead, combined with All Souls and All Saints Day. This is why the holiday is celebrated on both November 1 and November 2.

A common way to celebrate someones life is to make a display.

"Death is part of the natural cycle and on Day of the Dead they create these altars to hopefully bring the souls back to earth and the living and the dead can be together and celebrate."

Students could not only look at altars but check out art displays, try traditional Mexican food and get their face painted.

Over 100 students came out to the event.

SCTCC students face painting during Day of the Dead celebration. (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)