Car Altars at Oceanside Celebration. Check out the food left for loved ones. My Alter complete w/bread from Mexican Bakery
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos by honoring its Cultural Roots
A few years ago I decided to begin to honor the Mexican tradition of building an altar on my dining room table in observance of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). As most of you know, I lost my mom when she was only 56 to cancer and have since formed a non-profit called Be Well that provides free/donation based yoga classes, etc. for cancer survivors. My altar includes family members (we lost Kent's parents within a year of one another 2 years ago), friends, and Be Well students. The first year my altar was a simple, small altar with a few pictures, some painted rocks and candles. I hadn't done much, if any, research on what the actual traditional observance meant. Basically, I looked at a few pictures on Pinterest and threw it together.
Last year Kent and I walked to downtown Oceanside's celebration of Dia de los Muertos and I realized it was much more than a few photos, candles and painted rocks. The Mexican community in Oceanside showed their tradition to me by building altars in the trunks of their cars parked along the street. Looking at their altars made me wonder about a few things (like why did they include food?), so I decided to educate myself.
Here's a link to a great blog to learn more about the holiday by Grace Sesma. She can also be followed on Facebook- CuranderismoHealing:
This past Sunday, it was again Oceanside's Dia de los Metros festival. We went again and enjoyed seeing the different altars that were built honoring the departed. I bought my Marigolds, special bread from a Mexican bakery and came home and built my altar. See above photos for some of the altars at the event and the one that I built.
I had such a lovely time working on it, remembering each person as I placed them at my altar. Maybe you'd like to build a remembrance for your departed? Click Here for a great article written by Lesley Téllez explaining why food, water and marigolds are typically included in a Dia de los Muertos altar:
If you love Mexico, have been thinking about attending a yoga retreat, and have heard great things about the town San Miguel de Allende, which is knows widely for its celebration of Mexico's rich cultural heritage, then join me NEXT November 11-17, (2023) for our Cultivate Connection in the Heart of Mexico Retreat. Watch for details coming in my next email!
Namaste and Adios!