Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dia De Los Muertos

For the last week I’ve been feeling sad about past losses. Yesterday, inspired by Will Pillage for Yarn, I set up an altar de muertos for Dia De Los Muertos. It was the perfect thing to do, and as soon as the idea entered my mind, I knew I should do it.

I spent the morning visiting several local businesses for supplies. My first stop was Galeria Rustica. Pomona is rich with Latino culture and this shop has lots of supplies for the day of the dead. I was able to find a calaveritas de azucar (sugar skull), several great drawings, papel picados (cut paper banners), and a paper mache calavera (skull) that I “painted” myself. I also found a small wooden calaca (a skeleton figure that represents death) with a great feather in her hat (to round out my 3 skeletons).
Next, a trip to a local bakery to purchase pan de los muertos. They were selling beautiful sugary round loaves of bread for the occasion. Then another stop at a local grocery store serving primarily the Latino community to purchase candles. Last stop, flowers. I found some great materials online at Dia De Los Muertos websites (amazing information and great drawing that I cut out and used on the altar), looked back through photo albums to select photos, and spent some time last night putting the whole alter together.

It was very meditative to set out the ofrenda (offering: in addition to the bread, I set out salt, water, and other food consistent with culture), light the candles, and just spend some time thinking. I look forward to doing this again tonight for All Souls' Day (Nov 2); yesterday was All Saints' Day (Nov 1). According to what I’ve learned, November 1 is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2.

I hope everyone found their holidays to be equally spiritual. I know that Dylan and Issac definitely did.

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