On Friday we marked our first ‘El Dia de la Meurtos’ or Day of the Dead. I experienced this Mexican celebration for the first time four years ago whilst in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was such an amazing festival to remember passed loved ones with such a positive spirit that I vowed I would create my own version at home the next year ( did i say i went four years ago??)
They basically believe that the dead return to visit us for one day..well in fact they do two days..children come the first day ( nov 1) and then adults visit the second (nov 2). There is the dressing up to make the spirits feel at home, the loud music to guide them home, flower covered, candle lit alters with keep sakes and mementos, skull decorations and food items. These sugar skulls are bright and colourful and represent life..unlike the macabre connotations it has for us here. The whole family is included in the celebrations including the graveside gatherings that continue all night long.
Anyway I had the best intention of course as I always do and then all of a sudden its here and I haven’t prepared. I felt a bit disappointed in myself but I thought hey its not too late..it doesn’t have to be a huge thing, it just has to have a meaning to us. So I nipped up to the shops to get some flowers and mexican food..just nachos and threw together a nice little occasion. Campbell helped me to paint some little skulls…the leftover halloween ones we found at the dollar shop looked a bit scary, and he helped to decorate the table.
I told him it was a party so we had to have a candle on the cake to blow out because thats the only kind of party a two year old knows. It bought a tear to my eye when he told his dad we blow out the candle to remember them.
Its better to start somewhere I thought and now I am pleased with myself that I followed through and plan to make a bit of a bigger affair next year. And here are a few yummy ideas for baking and for decorating next year . And since Friday I’ve had many people from varying cultures tell me that they celebrate a version of it too. How about you??
Sugars skull cookies from The Sweet Adventures Of Sugarbelle
Sugar Skull handmade decorations from The Doll City Rocker
For more in depth information about the Day of the Dead celebration check out Wikipedia