Day Of The Dead

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:

I used sequins and jewels from the red and green color kits and sequined trim from Wedding Night. And yes… it is a piggy bank *grin* See what I mean about making things your own?

Another great Day of the Dead item  is the new Sugar Skull series of stamps from Bombshell Stamps. Here’s a peek at two of the many sets:

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.


11 Responses

  1. Cool! TFS I hav never celebrated Day of the Dead

  2. I often wondered what Day Of The Dead actually was but never got round to looking it up… the title says it all really but am not known for catching on quickly 😉 It’s a fantastic idea – and yes I’ll be joining in with you 🙂

  3. Woo hoo! What a great introduction, Nicole! Really looking forward to this season as well as the crafty adventures.

  4. WOW! I have never heard of this. Yes, I have seen things like this on TV, but I have never seen it celebrated in real life.
    Wonderful information. TFS!

  5. I’ve been totally fascinated about the Day of the Dead since first learning about it in my high school Spanish class (eons ago). LOVE it! And living in TX… there’s lots to do with it here!

  6. Great post, Nicole! Wonderful way to kick off our month of creepy goo.

  7. Ah! Finally can see your Calaca! You did a great job. I love the pink and all the glimmery touches.

    Thanks for the mini lesson about this celebration. It’s totally fascinating and very informative.

    I can’t wait to get a hold of the new Bombshell Sugar Skull Stamps.

  8. love that second stamp set!!!

  9. love that skull!!!
    love the pink and all the bling! and the flowers in the eyes is such a cool touch!

  10. Thank you for sharing that I really needed to understand it Ive been reading thing but you really summed it up for me I printed it for my boyfriend who doesn’t understand it .Thank you Sarah K

  11. We live in San Diego and we have seen the popularity of this day grow over the last few years. I learned something new from your post — Katerina, the female aristocratic skeletons. I have seen them, but didn’t realize they had a name. Thanks! I took lots of photos of Dia de los Muertas altars here in San Diego yesterday. You’ll see some great examples of what you explain so well here.
    thanks, Evelyn

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