Day of the Dead, Día de Los Muertos, is a holiday I’ve written about in the last ten years. Tracing back to its Mexican and Central American roots, we find that this celebration is a mix of Catholic Christian and very old Aztec traditions.
On November 1 and 2, families welcome back the spirits of their loved ones by building shrines to their memory in their homes, as well as gathering in cemeteries to mark those days with soft music, bright yellow marigolds to guide the spirits home, and even picnic and share their family favorites such as “Grandma’s tamales.” Kids write their names on sugar skulls. Skulls (calaveras) in fact, take a head role in Day of the Dead, as they did during Aztec times.
At a Tucson art museum, I once saw a Day of the Dead memorial, a covered bed filled with notes to their dear departed written by visitors, It was a very touching sight. I came home and decided that I’d make my own shrine in memory of those who’d died, including my mother and my dog and cat.