Although most revelers partying at the end of October consider dressing up the climax of their Fall experience, El Día de Muertos — the Meso-American tradition practiced in México and by many Latin Americans living in the US — continues through the first two days of November and reminds us of the loved ones we’ve lost. The ritual consists of building an altar dedicated to the souls of the dead who are visiting us from beyond (sounds creepy when we put it like that), because on the night of November 1st, “los muertitos” visit their former homes, and what better way to greet them than by providing their favorite goodies to feast on!
So.. let’s do this!!
In order to build your own altar you will need:
1. A portrait of the deceased — It can be a painting, a picture, etc. We, at Remezcla Headquarterz, chose to adore Soraya, Celia Cruz, and Selena. We hope they grace us with their visit from el más allá.
2. Purple candles –– As a sign of grief. They have to be in pairs, no matter how many.
3. Two big sugar skulls and 12 little ones — There can be fewer skulls but they also have to come in pairs. They represent the Holy Death, which is always present.
4. Soap, towel, and water — Just in case el muertito wants to wash his/her hands after the long trip and before he/her eats the delicious food.
5. Water — In case our muertito gets thirsty and wants to wet his/her lips.
6. Tequila — So our muertito remembers all the good times!
7. Food — It’s ideal to give the dead the food that he/she used to like when they were alive, so they feel welcome and at home!
8. A big cross made out of ashes — It helps our muertito to be liberated of all sin.
9. Marigold flowers — To create a pretty and aromatic ambience for our ancestor.
Just so you know, the altar has to be set by the night of October 31, leave it for the night of November 1st and November 2nd. The tradition tells us that after our ancestors visit the altar, everything is devoid of scent and flavor. So enjoy and let’s celebrate the Day of the Dead!