This post has been sponsored by General Mills. All opinions are my own! How To Make A Dia De Los Muertos Altar
One of the hardest things about being an adult is having to deal with the loss of people we love. We all deal with this, too often, whether directly or vicariously. Death is the hardest part of life, for the living. Sometimes, it hurts so bad, we fail to find our way back to smiling when we remember the people we’ve lost. It can be difficult for some people to talk about it too, so they don’t.
Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not some scary day of colorful masks and death. Really, it’s about life; the lives of the people we’ve lost. It’s an opportunity to share stories about their lives with others and honor their legacies. It’s an important part of my family’s culture. In the past, my older sons (17 & 12) have always created school projects and presentations in observation of this special day. This is the first year that my 6-year-old triplets are participating in the observation, and we’re doing that at home.
The triplets are my “rainbow babies” following a terrible miscarriage that could have taken my own life. I had to choke back the tears when my only daughter Kaitlyn (6) suggested we put her Trix cereal for the baby
I we lost. It was very sweet. If you know me at all, you know that I have a special appreciation for irony. The triplets were actually eating Cocoa Puffs that morning, so wanting to put Trix on the altar was immediately symbolic to me. Like I said, the triplets are my rainbow babies, so Kaitlyn’s suggestion to add Trix felt ironic, in a beautiful way! And this site, was born from the triplets. The cereals came from Walmart, which as most of you know, is a main character in much of my sponsored content, which is what allowed me to stay home and care for the triplets, their special needs, and still contribute financially. I find deep meaning in simple happenings. It’s my thing. This, all of it, simple as it might sound, means everything to me!
There is certainly no wrong or right way to observe dia de los muertos, but there are common traditions, such as a dia de los muertos altar. That’s what we decided to do. Our dia de los muertos altar this year is a base altar. During the week, as I share stories with the youngest children about special people in my life, we will begin to add things of special meaning to those people, to our altar. We will also add a dia de los muertos bread, a very common tradition for altars. The food offerings are referred to as ofrendas, which just means offerings. On our table, we will add soccer items for Coach Alex, books and word-game pieces for my beloved Sue, and more pictures, as we continue to talk about more people. Last week was the funeral of my husband’s uncle. He is in our hearts and we will light a candle for him as well. Candles are said to light the way to the after-life. People often include photos of their favorite singers, actors, and public figures on their dia de los muertos altar. We will include a photo of Juan Gabriel, as will many. While remembering the people who have impacted our lives is a significant part of the day, we also think of those we do not know, who have also passed.
Our Dia de los Muertos altar was super easy to make!
1. Pick an area. We used a table. You can make a tiered altar or a flat one, it’s up to you!
2. Add some color.
3. Add ofrendas, flowers, candles, and more color! (And the bread! Which we will be making together, or at least trying to make.)
4. Add photos and personalize your table! (We decided not to put the pictures in a frame. Instead, we printed them on paper and cut them out to make it easier to add more pictures later. Then, we painted the skulls. Check it out!
Do you observe the day with a Dia de Los Muertos altar, too? What other family traditions do you have? Share in the comments!
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By: Alicia Gonzalez