My First Day of the Dead Altar

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.


Wait, before you go! If you like this post, por please share it, pin it, tweet it, call your mom and tell her about it or give it a hug. Muchos thank yous!

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  • Kimberly

    I love it! You did a great job, and what a special tradition to start with your family. 

  • Kathy

    It turned out gorgeous and I love the idea and tradition! Congrats on your Giants…awesome win! 

  • Danielletodd

    What a wonderful way to remember and celebrate your family. 

  • Cristina

    Beautiful!! Gracias a ti, ahora se mucho mas de esta hermosa tradicion.

    • unknownmami

      Gracias, amiga.

  • tracismixedbag

     I love it! Beautiful altar. You’ve inspired me to make one, maybe next year.

    • unknownmami

      Traci, I had SO much fun making it. I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was.

      • tracismixedbag

         Maybe you can post a tutorial next year.

  • darielacruz

    Que bello! It shows lots of love and dedication :)

    • unknownmami


  • Chris H

    What a lovely thing to do… we certainly do not have that celebration in New Zealand.

  • deborahpucci

    I have to say that I am very impressed and inspired. What a sweet way to honor and remember the dead. Your display is perfect and thoughtful.

    Something I liked, which my father did when his father died, was when he put a cigarette in my grandfathers suit pocket and a picture of the family too.
    Also a can of beer with my other grandpa.

  • AlvaradoFrazier

    What a wonderful memory for you and your family. Muy bonita.

  • Marcelabeatty

    It’s it!!

  • lisleman

    You certainly put lots of thought into this.  Beer, Eye liner, hand of cards, – just amazing the objects that remind you of them.  How long do you keep the display up?

  • Vidya Sury

    I love this! You know, we honor our dead on their anniversary every year with an event (yes, even for this). There are rituals and prayers and we cook their favorite food. But I love that you added their favorite things too! Just wonderful! Hugs! Your altar is beautiful, Claudya. Bless you. I am sure they’re all smiling down on you.

  • Linda

    Good morning, Mami.

    What a lovely idea. And so cheerfully colourful too. I can see there’s a natural affinity between you and my Austrian friends. They too celebrate their dead family and friends on Nov 1st – All Hallows Day and Nov 2nd – All Souls Day.

    We’re heathens in the UK by comparison. All we do is spend 31st October scaring each other silly!

    Say ‘hello’ to your family for me.

    Kind regards,

  • LL Cool Joe

    First of all I thought it sounded creepy, but after seeing all your photos, I kinda think it’s a lovely way to remember the loved ones we’ve lost.

  • MoMo

    It’s gorgeous! Excellent job, Mami!

    • unknownmami

      Thank you.

  • Veronica lee

    You certainly did a fantastic job! We have something kinda similar over here on our side of the pond –

  • LindyLou Mac

    What a lovely tribute, not so bright in celebrations here, especially if the weather is still as wet and cold as it is today!

  • Pingback: Celebrating Día de los Muertos with friends: Unknown Mami | The Other Side of the Tortilla()

  • Lilly V

    Gorgeous altar! Love it!

    • unknownmami

      Thank you!