Day of the Dead is fast approaching and I thought it would be fun to bring some Gauche Alchemy goodness to a very fun, colorful, reverent holiday.
Day of the Dead is celebrated on November first and second and it’s purpose is to give families a chance to set aside time and remember loved ones who have passed on. For over 3000 years people have been celebrating with festivals, feasting and decorations. To quote Day of the Dead Crafts,
The festival is a joyful party that celebrates the lives of those who have moved on while mocking death’s power to take from us the most important aspect of life – the relationship we have with those you love.
When death is greeted warmly and with good humor, it no longer clutches us in a grip of fear. The Day of the Dead is as much a celebration of life as it is a call to those who have passed to return and enjoy a holiday in their honor.
While there are many ways to have your own Day of the Dead celebration, some common elements are:
- Calavera: Whimsical skeletons
- Caterina/Katerina: Female high-class aristocratic skeletons
- Ofrenda: An alter to welcome the dead, usually three levels
- Sugar Skulls: Used on alters, meant to be eaten
- Pan de los muertos: Sweet bread
Since I am a first-time celebrator, I can promise you my interpretation of these traditions will be far from authentic. But that is what I like about being a creative person; we can take the wonderful ideas and traditions of others and put our own spin on them.
Over the course of the next month I’ll be posting a series of ideas on things to make and do in preparation of Dia de los Muertos. To get started, I heartily recommend the book Day of the Dead Crafts by Kerry Arquette, Andrea Zocchi and Jerry Vigil.
If you are a fan of Mexican folk art you will find numerous projects in categories ranging from home décor to jewelry. The instructions are well written and easy to follow and the pictures are incredibly helpful and inspiring. One of the strengths of the book is that many different styles of art are represented so there really is something for everyone.
Here is a Calaca I made that was inspired by the book; it will be a part of our ofrenda:
These stamps would be a great way to add some Day of the Dead flair to your invitations, napkins, candle rings and more.
Putting together a Dia de los Muertos celebration will be a new experience for me. I hope you join in with some projects of your own.