Today the dead return to earth. That is the belief anyways to millions of people around that world that celebrate today. Today is day of the dead or el Día de los Muertos.

I have always had deep fascination with this day. I dream of going to Mexico to experience it in person one day. Over the years the celebration and popularity of this day has grown. Even our local city having celebrations on this night. (this year cancelled because you know Covid-) and I think it should be celebrated more!

What is day of the dead?

day of the dead

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday in which families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives.. Kind of a family reunion from the grave! This reunion consist of food, drink and celebration.

When is it?

The holiday is celebrated every year from October 31 to November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, as we all know, In Mexico November 1st is “el Día de los Inocentes.” This means the day of the children and All Saints Day.

November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. The belief is, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31. This allows the spirits of children tore-join their families for 24 hours. (what a lovely reinsuring thought) The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2.

How do families celebrate the day of the dead?

As mentioned with food and drink! During the brief time that the souls of the dead return, they feast, drink, and dance! They play music with their loved ones. I guess being around their loved ones is enough.

The living family members, AKA YOU! Will treat the deceased as honoured VIP guests. Families will leave the deceased’s favourite foods and other offerings at gravesites or on the ofrendas built in their homes.

During the Day of the Dead festivities, people wear masks and eat sugar candy moulded into the shape of skulls! Food and drink related to the holiday such as spicy dark chocolate and a corn-based liquor called atole is consumed.

You can wish someone a happy Day of the Dead by saying, “Feliz día de los Muertos.”

What is an ofrendas?

A ofrendas is basically an altar set up for the spirits to visit. You would set up a table, if possible with two levels. will be covered on a bright-coloured tablecloth. On the higher up section photographs of the person will be placed along with their belongings, if available. This shows that the offerings are meant for them. Personal items, will vary. For children, it is common to place toys on the altar.

The lower portion of the altar is where you’d place the food. It will include again traditional Mexican cuisine but also fruit such as oranges and sugarcane. As well as food or other items (cigarettes are a popular addition here) that represent the person’s tastes. Finally, it will also include a selection of food products related to the date. (the sugar skulls!)

day of the dead
a ofrenda inspired by the Disney Pixar movie Coco

How Can I celebrate day of the dead?

If you want to celebrate the day of the dead you can easily. Here’s some ideas for you to celebrate your passed relatives.

  • Visit the graves of your loved ones is an easy step to take. You can clean the grave stone and leave offering here for your loved ones to enjoy.
  • Set out pillows and blankets! This may seem odd but traditionally people celebrating day of the dead set out pillows and blankets so the spirits can rest after their long journey.
  • Dress up and put on the day of the dead make up.
  • Play music that your loved ones enjoyed.
  • Make an altar at home, with bright coloured covering, photos, candles and possessions if you have them! Don’t forget the food
  • Watch the movie coco with your loved ones.

Did you know?

Marigolds are the only living plants you will see in The Land of the Dead. These are the only living plants in the Land of the Dead set it apart from The Land of The Living. During research trips to Mexico, the filmmakers learned that marigolds play a huge role in Día de Los Muertos: guiding the spirit of a loved one home!

Sugar skull spoons!

An ideal decoration to display on your altar. We’ll also make the stand for them. Let’s pay our respects to out loved and lost ones and get crafty.

What will I need?

day of the dead
  • Wooden spoons! These can be picked up cheaply these were 50p from wilkos
  • washi tapes. if you don’t have tape, why not use colourful paper
  • a jar or container to stand your spoons in
  • a pencil
  • colouring pens or paints
  • Tissue paper of a bright colour

Lets get Crafty!

  1. begin by covering your jar with brightly coloured washi. If you don’t have any washi or decretive tapes, glue on colourful strips of paper around your jars. Use PVA as this dries clear and is stronger.
day of the dead

2. Stuff your jar with the tissue paper or something that will support your spoons to stand. Rice would work well too.

3. On your wooden spoon sketch out a sugar skull design. Use a search engine search to help you with ideas and styples.

4. Now lets decorate your day of the dead sugar skull spoons! Use paint or colouring pens to colouring your designs!

5. Stand your spoons in the jar and display on your altar or in your home ready to welcome home your relatives.

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