ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Over at Muhlenberg College, there's an annual tradition the school takes part in this time of the year to view the Mexican holiday: "Dia de los Muertos," or the "Day of the Dead."

Every year, Muhlenberg's Erika Sutherland oversees the creation of a stunning folk altar in the school's chapel.

Sutherland helped start the tradition honoring the holiday 22 years ago. The homegrown altar features different pictures and mementos of those who have passed.

"Every year new pictures appear, new gifts appear, more people sort of come in," Sutherland said.

Marigolds are laid to make a path for the dead. Also, some leave the dead's favorite foods and other traditional items such as crosses and skulls.

"We see death sort of as a cycle," said Muhlenberg Spanish professor Angel Diaz-Davalos.

Diaz-Davalos says the holiday is a day of celebration, not of sadness. 

"It's not that we're mocking death but since we all fear death we might as well maybe have fun with it a little bit."

It involves family and friends gathering to pray while helping the dead find their spiritual journey back to their loved ones.

"The first person to make it onto the altar, at least for me, was my grandmother Esther Kirkpatrick-Davis," Sutherland said.