It is with great joy and pride that I present to you my very first altar for Day of the Dead.
Día de los Muertos is something I’ve always appreciated, but never felt like I could fully claim because even though I am of Mexican descent, we never celebrated it when I was growing up. I was wrong, it was just waiting for me and my family to fully embrace it.
We’ve included friends and family from both sides on our altar. Granddad and his cologne are on display. I am not religious, but I could not possibly leave the Virgencita out of the display. If I did, I know my muertos would show up and be disappointed.
It came as such a delightful surprise that as I made my own papel picado banner and gathered pictures, recuerdos, and ofrendas, I truly was filled with a sense of celebration remembering my dearly departed.
It was a pleasure to put beer out for my tío and to look at the smiling faces of my cousins without a feeling the usual ache in my heart.
My relationship with my nana (grandmother) was complicated, but it is easy to know she will be thrilled to find a hand of solitaire all set up and waiting for her.
For my tía I set out some mazapán for a snack. I also left her eyeliner because she really wanted to go out and buy some the last time I ever saw her.
It felt perfect to put out a Cancionero Mexicano since my dearly departed love to sing whenever there is a party.
There are enough candles, flowers, and treats for our visiting friends and family.
I look forward to continuing this tradition in the coming years. It’s a beautiful thing to spend time celebrating and remembering loved ones who have passed, but are still very much a part of our present.
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated November 1-2. I invite you to embrace the celebration and remember your dead; it might surprise you how happy it makes you.