I love October and Fall overall, for the feelings of change and transition. Lots of that happening now…
I especially enjoy celebrating the Latin holiday Dia de los Muertos- Day of the Dead- both as an personal day and as a community celebration. Bay wide, our museums offer special community alter exhibits. There are concerts everywhere and parades through most cities.
To me, Dia de Los Muertos is a time to honor change- what we see and what we don’t. It is also the time of year to honor our connection to loved ones who have blessed our lives with theirs. I love the heightened colors and festivities of this holiday: bright abundant alters are built in homes and in galleries; marigolds bloom from stoops & gardens; people prepare special food & drink enjoyed by loved ones; and there are lots of parades and concerts.
One ritual I enjoy almost every year is going to any one of the special Mexican stores or markets to buy fresh sugar skulls, papel picado, and usually one new calaveras figurine (skeleton figure) for my alter. These figures humorously depict a smiling skeleton hard at work or play, reminding me not to take things so seriously. Underlying all the impermanence is the message to celebrate life at every turn.
This is also the time of year to make sugar skulls, masks, breads, and crafts.
For crafts, check out this wonderful tutorial from fellow Etsy artisan Yreina on how to make papel picado- colorful tissue banners that typically decorate alters and storefronts for nearly all festivities including this day. I love how Yreina has designed a particular papel inspired by something her Grandpa used to say.
This is just the black and white template (useable for your own project). Check out her wonderful story and technique for making papel picado here.
As well as her Etsy store Aymujer- here.
I’ll be posting pics of my alter this week, and jewelry inspired by the playful sugar skulls and treats featured all week long. So check back!