Are you familiar with Dia de los Muertos? It's a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. Of course, it's not only in Mexico as Mexicans live all over the world and have brought this beautiful holiday to all sorts of different countries. As an Argentinian-American who has taken in so many different cultures (muchos thanks to Houston for all the diversity it allowed me to grow up with), I too celebrate Dia de los Muertos.
This isn't a holiday filled solely of painted faces and bright colors. This is about tradition and culture and what it means to honor the deceased. People build private (or sometimes public) altars called ofrendas by using sugar skulls, marigolds, the deceased favorite foods & beverages, along with pictures or their belongings. It's quite an experience to make one for a loved one as well as visit other altars. It's all about helping support the spiritual journey of those we love and miss dearly.
|We must live smiling, in order to die happy - Anonymous|
Image by me.
I'm pretty sure I've shared the picture at the top of this post before and I'll probably continue to do so since it's one of my favorites. This picture was taken a few years ago when I had the pleasure of visiting Noches de Altares in beautiful Santa Ana, CA. See more here. I didn't get a chance to visit Dia de los Muertos altars in Houston this year which makes me super bummed. Good news is the interwebs loves to share so I've been oooohing and ahhhing at the creative and love-filled altars folks have made for their loved ones!
|Image by me.|
This year I made my very first altar for someone who still has a grip on my heart. My baby girl, Jay, who passed away in August. Find altars by using the hashtag #ofrendas on networks like Instagram and Twitter. I also found some good pictures on Flickr. To see my Santa Ana album (2011), go here, and to see my Lawndale Art Center album (2010), go here.
I've never made a día de los muertos altar but I thought making my first one for my girl would be good for our souls 😊even if it may seem silly to some 😬 I added things like her ashes & collar, a painted skull, two candles (guardian angel & la virgencita), her paw print made by our vet's office ❤️, a #chingona sticker (@sewbonita) that represents her well ☺️, two @furrybones (a duck & a bat), a picture of us on our last day, a picture of pizza cause Jay LOVED pizza crust (courtesy of @dominos), and a water bowl on an @heb #diadelosmuertos plate. . Waterworks are in full effect 😩#jaylaboxer has been gone for a little over two months and it still feels like yesterday when we said our goodbyes. Rest In Peace, baby girl, till we meet again. 😘 #thatarilife #reedtasticpups #diadelosmuertosaltar #dayofthedead
What does this holiday mean to me? Although I was raised Catholic, I don't consider myself a religious person. I'm not all that spiritual either (trying to learn more on this), but I do believe in souls and helping them find peace. I did my altar for my girl because I want her soul to find peace whether she's still here on earth by my side or in puppy heaven somewhere. I also want to show her that she's on my mind and that I love her. I guess everyone has their own reasoning but this one is mine.
Momma of Dos made an altar for her family. See it here. Modern Tejana has a post up with links to books that can help your kids learn more about this holiday. See it here. Visit my Dia de los Muertos Pinterest board here.
Lawndale Art Center in Houston (4912 Main) will have their Dia de los Muertos exhibit up until November 5th. Visit their site here for more information.
East End Gallery in Houston (708C Telephone Rd) had a Calavera Procession last Friday. They also have their own exhibit that you don't want to miss this. The closing reception is Friday the 4th. Visit their site here for more information.