Day of the Dead (in spanish: Dia de los Muertos) has become so popular recently that it often both saddens and maddens me to see the term “day of the dead” slapped onto a piece of artwork just because it has a skull or a skeleton on it. or lumped together with Halloween. lots of people want to capitalize on the popularity of this tradition but don’t bother to find out what it’s REALLY about. or honestly, they just think skulls are “cool”. last year, one online store held a “Day of the Dead” craft contest on their facebook page, where people posted pieces they’d created and the one with the most “likes” won a prize of some sort. i still remember one of the pieces: a gravestone, spiders, webs, and pumpkins. and one scary-looking skull. Day of the Dead – really? not so much….
Dia de los Muertos is about honoring our loved ones who are no longer with us. there is nothing scary, or spooky, or Halloween-y about it. it’s a beautiful tradition that involves celebrating life, not mourning death.
i did not grow up knowing about Dia de los Muertos. i honestly don’t remember the first time i ever heard about it, but i know that once i did i wanted to know more. that was years ago. today, with so much virtual information at our fingertips, there really is no reason not to know what this tradition is all about, if one truly wants to.
i could try to share what i’ve learned about this beautiful tradition, but there’s an awesome site that did such a great job with this, i’d rather share their page and let you see for yourself. check out mexicansugarskull.com’s post about the history of Day of the Dead.
and, if you’d like to check out another link, here’s an interview i did at Crafty Catholic Mamacita back in March. maria finds artists and crafters on Etsy and interviews them for her weekly “Crafty Mamacita Miercoles” (miercoles = spanish for Wednesday). she found my shop on Etsy and asked if she could send me some questions for an interview. (i’m glad i did; maria was very sweet and very professional.)
the last question was about Dia de los Muertos. you can read my interview here:
my husband and i have an altar set up in our dining room year round. we started it 3 years ago during the Day of the Dead season and never took it down. it stays as a tribute to loved ones we’ve said goodbye to yet know we’ll one day see again. we make a few changes as time passes, adding friends and family who have passed on since we started our altar, redecorating, etc. i love having a physical place to pause, light a candle, and say a quick hello.
*our altar has artwork from several awesomely talented artists: the large candle on the right is Cathy Ashworth; the skull on the second shelf of our altar is from Cesco’s Muertos; the skeleton-butterfly piece (top shelf) and the skeleton dog (front) is from Theresa Armas; the black skull (left) and blue box (right) is from Annette Armas of CJ’s Angels and Arte de Nuestro Corazon. the tall candle with the image of flowers (on the left) and the piece in the lower left corner were done by me.
so, tell me – do you celebrate Day of the Dead? if you do, i’d love for you to share in the comments!