An Editorial On… Día de Los Muertos Altar

One of my favorite Mexican traditions has got to be Día de Los Muertos or  the Day of the Dead that occurs every year on November 2nd. To honor our loved ones who have passed we assemble altars with their pictures, objects that belonged to them, alfeñique or sugar skulls, candles, colorful tissue paper banners called papel picadocempazuchitl also known as marigolds, pan de muerto (seasonal sweet bread), seasonal fruits, alcohol of choice, favorite foods and sweets. The altar is like an invitation for the deceased to journey back from the land of the dead or heaven (whatever you chose to believe) and spend the day among the living. This day is not meant to be sad or morbid, it is a celebration of the lives of those who have died and letting them know we haven’t forgotten them.

IMG_4554

Growing up my mother did not set up altars on Dia de Los Muertos, mostly because all the items traditionally used we couldn’t find at our local stores or we couldn’t cross the items across the border. But she always lit a veladora or candle and set out flowers in honor of her mother, my Mamá Juanita and some years later my dad’s father, my Papá Canuto. Even though her altar couldn’t be elaborate, my mother would tells us all about the customs people from her rancho would do.

my mamá juanita, my cousin letty and my little parrot juan marta aurelio
pictured: my mamá juanita with the rosary she gave me at my confirmation, my cousin letty with the set of sea turtles figurines she gave me one year to start off my collection and my little parrot juan marta aurelio
pictured: my papá canuto with his dog leon, mazapán that my grandfather always carried in his pocket and handed out to all the kids
pictured: my papá canuto with his dog león, mazapán de la rosa (peanut marzipan) that my grandfather always carried in his pocket and handed out to all the kids
pictured: my cousin lucas, a lot of candy for his sweet tooth and his favorite coors beer
pictured: my cousin lucas, a lot of candy for his sweet tooth and his favorite coors beer

This year I decide to build my very own altar in my home and while I couldn’t find everything I wanted to lay out, I think I did a great job. While I don’t have kids, I do want to have them and I wonder what traditions I want to pass down to them. This is definitely one of them.

ready to receive my loved ones who have passed

Advertisements

One thought

  1. I love how these last 2 posts (back-to-back) truly represent and celebrate the advantages of being bi-cultural.
    Pumpkin carving and ofrendas are definitely 2 traditions I think your kiddies would enjoy being taught about (in the future of course- hehe).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s