A DAY OF THE DEAD GATHERING
Dia de los Muertos (or The Day of the dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd, with each day being its own celebration, leading up to the grand finale on All Souls day (The day of the dead). A day to celebrate when the dead and the living can reconnect. A reason for family and friends to get together and reminisce about memories. An occasion to learn how not to fear death, but to celebrate life. A time for remembrance of those loved ones who have passed.
Living in the states, families celebrate this holiday in their own way. Being as traditional or as modern as they like. Keeping those loved ones in mind and celebrating them.
A few traditional components of this celebration are…
An Ofrenda – This is an alter of sorts that vary in levels to represent earth, heaven and even purgatory.
Marigolds – These flowers help guide the spirit of your loved ones to the alters using their bright colors and strong smells.
Skulls – Displayed in many forms to represent the lifespan of humans.
Mexican Styled Paper Banners (Papel Picado) – The cutouts allow the wind to flow through for souls searching for your alter as well as represent how fragile life can be.
Food – This is a combination of favorite dishes of your loved ones as well as delicious comfort food. More traditionally items like tamales, soup (pozole), bread for the dead (Pan De Muerto) and sweets are offered at the alter and served during the event.
Photos & Personal items – pictures of your loved ones and any of their prized possessions, or items they liked are common to an Ofrenda.
The inspiration for the table this year came from a scarf that I have that has fuchsia with gold & black accents. Every time I think of Mexico, I always love the bright colors that are displayed in fabric and I wanted the table to represent that feeling of being in Mexico. I also have always loved how gold, navy blue and fuchsia go together and this was the perfect time to show off this color combination.
When creating a tablescape, I always layer the table to create depth. On this table I was able to start with the fabric and runner as the base. Then I moved on to items such as the gold plate chargers, day of the dead plates, napkins and silverware. From there I move on to height. I love adding a natural element such as a floral arrangement (adding eucalyptus for that strong pungent smell to go with our theme of the gathering), or a plant, maybe even water at times. Next, I add glassware and candles in varying heights for interest. Finally, adding food and people are those final touches to give warmth and comfort. Now you’re ready to enjoy!
HOW TO ACHIEVE THIS LOOK:
The white underlying tablecloth came from a clearance find from Marshalls. The fuchsia scarf on top came from target as well as the silverware. The faux table runner came from Michaels and is two hanging banners laid side by side. The Navy napkins came from Bed Bath & Beyond. The candles, gold chargers and black table runner underlay came from the dollar tree. The gold glassware was gifted to my husband from a family member after she passed. The skull dinner paper plates are a find from amazon.
For the floral arrangement I wanted to steer away from tradition a bit and just create something that gave me a happy feeling. I went to my local supermarket and was able to find bright yellow daisies, deep orange gerbera daisies and I added green and white hydrangeas and eucalyptus. The eucalyptus smelled amazing and was that added scent that was similar to the meaning of the marigold.
This holiday is always one of my favorites because I love hearing all the memories. Friends or family share their favorite memory and reveal what possession they brought. There is always just so much history and smiles. You can’t help but feel closer to the person who is sharing a loved one’s story.
Another favorite of this holiday is the food. You can opt for a potluck or a dinner party. I always enjoy traditional Mexican food on this day, being half Mexican, traditional food IS my comfort food. It just reminds me of when I was a kid eating my grandmother’s home cooked food.
You really can’t go wrong celebrating this holiday. Make it as simple or eclectic as your heart desires. Celebrating this holiday helps support those who have past on with their spiritual journeys and when you get to celebrate them with friends or family you get to share your journey with those most close to you.
Did you like this blog post? please leave a comment below if you would like to see me posts like this one. For recipes, check out my new slow cooker taco series starting with my carnitas tacos. Also, check out my about page to find out more of what this website has to offer. From my family to yours…be well.