Dia de los Muertos

Feliz el Dia de los Muertos, everyone!!

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If you don’t know this about me, this is one of my most favorite holidays. I didn’t grow up knowing about this holiday, but as an adult I celebrate and love teaching my daughter and the younger generation about it. It is such a beautiful idea; the idea that your loved ones who have passed will come back to visit you for two days. It is believed that Halloween is the day when the veil between the living and dead is lifted. Souls can pass from one plane to the other and spend two days back with the living.

On this holiday, alters, or ofrendas, are made with photos, food, and flowers to honor our loved ones. Many people visit cemeteries in hopes to spend time with loved ones. Marigolds are planted or put in alters as they play a major role in this holiday. Marigolds are nicknamed the “flower of the dead.” They are so named because one, they remind us about the fragility of life and how quickly it can end, and two, the vibrant color and smell are thought to guide spirits to the homes of their loved ones.  (Below are mine in my front yard)

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One of my favorite translations of this holiday comes from the Yucatan. They celebrate Hanal Pixan which translates to, “The path to the soul through the essence of food.” The path to my soul is most definitely food. I love to make food, eat food, and share food. I think about this translation often as it plays a part in my daily life and also reminds me of this holiday.

In 2012, I wrote a blog post celebrating the life of two of my loved ones. You can read it here. Feliz el Dia de Los Muertos

In 2013 and 2014, we were fortunate enough to live close to San Diego where they have an annual celebration in Old Town. It started out as a few alters being placed around the businesses and has turned into an entire street fair with activities! Below is a photo from 2013. Myself, my mom, my grandma, and my daughter.

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The next year my husband celebrated with us as well. Of course we painted our own faces because we are fun like that. My husband had so many compliments on his. I tried to mimic “La Muerte” from the movie “Book of Life.”

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My kitchen theme is also Day of the Dead. I love the idea that the afterlife is filled with your loved ones and is a constant celebration. It makes me happy to know (or believe) that my husband and I will be together even once we have left our living existence. I have statues of skeleton couples as well as sugar skulls and other colorful items, but the best piece is a new painting I had custom painted by my friend Kim at KD Fine Art.  She took an idea I had in my head for years and made it come to life. It’s the centerpiece of my dining room.

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The entire painting isn’t pictured here, (we’re surrounded by an alter of vibrant colored flowers) but this is the main idea. It’s us! On our wedding day. Another reminder that we will get to spend life together even after death.


 

This year I am far away from family and celebrations, so I decided to celebrate in a different way. I currently live in Virginia on a large plot of land, and next to our house is a vacant old house. It’s been nicknamed the “Creepy House” by our friends. I don’t think it’s creepy at all. I think it’s fascinating! Below is what it looks like when you drive up during the day.

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Here is what it looks like from the side with a fun filter added to it to make it look old. I love this photo.

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The lady that used to own the house we live in was the tenant in the Creepy House up until 1996. I am not sure about all the people before her, but I do know that parts of the house date back to Civil War times. Somewhere between then and the little old lady, a family by the name of Baird lived there. I know this because about 500 feet away from our house is a small cemetery where the family is buried.

I decided to pay homage to the previous land owners and celebrate the holiday by sprucing up their final resting place. I weed-eated (weed-ate?) as much of the overgrown grass as I could.

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I even found a small teddy bear that was left, I am assuming, for the newest member of the cemetery who passed away in 1998. Below are all the headstones.

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Once the grass was cleared, I planted a single marigold in front of each headstone. I also sprinkled seeds all over in hopes that more will grow; marigolds are pretty easy to grow from seed.

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As I said before, I love teaching my daughter about this holiday. She was excited to wear her skeleton shirt and earrings, and was more excited for me to paint her face after school.

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And since I like to have fun, too….

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I hope that everyone who celebrates was or will be visited by their loved ones.

Happy Day of the Dead!

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