crossposted from BlogHer.org
Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, will be celebrated in Mexico, throughout southwestern US, and in many other Latin countries this week. An ancient tradition, Dia de los Muertos encourages families to remember those who have died, invite them to come visit the living and celebrate their lives. This is often done by building altars, or ofrendas, that commemorate those who have passed.
Altars can be very traditional or much more modern. Among the standard items are: orange marigolds, incense or candles, special foods, bread of the dead, photographs, favorite things and a glass of water (hey, it's thirsty work coming to visit the living!) Items that held meaning to the person in his/her life are displayed. Often the altar is edged in paper-cut decorations called papel picado. There are also sugar skulls with the loved one's name written across the forehead and fanciful decorations added. You can see examples of ofredas at this Flickr Photo Pool. For a fanciful look at an altar, check out the video on building an altar for Barry White.
You're thinking, fine and dandy, but what does this holiday have to crafts? According to azcentral, Handmade crafts and decorations are what Dia de los Muertos is all about. The site includes instructions for simple paper flowers, sugar skulls, reverse glass painting, and a truly charming Dia de los Muertos pin. I won't time to make one of these pins for this year, but next year? Look for me wearing a version of these. (now where do I find those milagros again??)
The Crafty Chica has a fun project idea for Funky Fantasy Skulls. and a fabulous bleach pen skull banner.
So this year, instead of feeding into the commercialism, candy and gore that is Halloween, why not try a different tradition?
The Crafty Chica explains the holiday.
Calamaty Kim loves the calaveras.
There have been several art quilt exhibits themed around Dia de los Muertos: in San Diego, in an online portfolio, the QuiltArt challenge,
You can go to Wonka.com, build your own altar and win a prize!
photocredit: my flickr photostream. This mural is at the entrance to the Dia de los Muertos exhibit this year at the Oakland Museum of California.
I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.