Knowing all the details.
Sometimes we judge or voice opinions when we really don’t know all the facts.
Let me explain.
When I first moved to New Mexico many years ago, I felt like the Dia de Muertos celebration was a bit spooky.
Since this Mexican holiday fell on the day after Halloween, I thought it was an extension of Halloween.
I observed alters being put up, skeleton masks put on and candles lit and I thought it was….well, I thought it was like some sort of devil worship and I stayed completely away from it.
Then it was explained to me that no, this was a lot like our Memorial Day.
A day when we remember those who have passed on by taking flowers to the cemetery and having family picnics, etc.
Dia de Muertos; Day of the Dead:
It is the culture of those of Mexican and Hispanic heritage and actually starts Oct 31 and ends November 2.
For this culture, Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a time of prayer and remembrance of friends and family members who have died.
Traditionally, an alter (ofrenda) is set up using an existing table in the home or on a patio and this table is draped with a colorful cloth and a few small candles and flowers.
Pictures are added of the loved one(s) who have passed away.
Another part of the tradition is one in which I believe many people shy away from and that is the placing of calaveras representing the dead on the alter.
These calaveras are skulls made from cane sugar and decorated with candy flowers, icing, beads and feathers.
Hence the term “sugar skulls”.
Below you will see the sugar cookies I made. I frosted them with Royal Icing and decorated them with edible markers.
I am almost embarrassed to show you my sugar skulls as I was having difficulty with my royal icing drying properly.
(Note to self:) Let them dry overnight instead of rushing it.
As you can see, my sugar skulls are not quite what I had in mind, but in keeping it real, I wanted you to see what could be done with a bit more time and effort.
Let’s move on shall we?
Dia de Muertos, memorial holiday also includes festivals and parades.
Favorite foods of the deceased are prepared and eaten, as friends and family members “celebrate” the life of their loved ones.
At the end of the day, the families conclude their festivities by visiting the cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones.
My tablescape for Dia de Muertos started with the movie “Coco”, which came out in November of 2017.
This animated Disney film is the story of a 12-year-old little boy named Miguel.
In a dream like sequence, Miguel is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to help him return to his family as they prepare to celebrate Dia de Muertos.
You will see various family members in and among the white guitar and flowers that I used as a centerpiece.
The white guitar was instrumental (pun intended) to the character Coco, as it was his grandfathers.
Of course there are small votives as well as tall tapers.
I used burlap place mats and sat orange dinner plates with “sugar skull” salad plates on top.
The silver stick like flatware seemed a perfect choice as they sort of resemble skeletons.
Turquoise napkins and stemmed water glasses complete the place setting.
There were many other interesting features of this tablescape that I did not get to add as I was a bit rushed for time but none-the-less, I wanted to get it in the bag before the days rushed by.
I really like the pictures with the candles lit….it is not eerie at all but nice and cozy once you know the real meaning of Dia de Muertos.
Where has the time gone?
It is time now for Thanksgiving, and I feel the need for speed to catch up.
Have a great day and blessings always!