Today is Dia de los Muertos! All about ofrendas!

Friday, November 2, 2012
Altar for  her ancestors, by Yoli Manzo,
 Today is Dia de los Muertos and while the mainstream world thinks that only involves adorable sugar skulls and clever skull designs, I'm here to share the true foundation of what it's all about - the ofrenda!

November 1st and 2nd are the days when the spirits who have crossed over are able to rejoin their loved ones for one night. November 1st is for the children, and November 2nd is for the adults. In Mexico, many families visit the gravesites and decorate the area with marigold flowers, copal candles,  and a hot plate of food (the scents help the spirits find their way here).
Decorated grave in Mexico. Photo by Maria Fowler,
Some don't go to the cemetery at all and instead build an ofrenda big or small in their own home. Some use a whole bedroom, while others are content with the top of a dresser, or even their front porch, like Yoli!

Here is a personal alter made by
Here in America, we have our own version that is grounded in tradition, yet incorporates a contemporary spin. Maura Hernandez of TheOtherSide has a wonderful article that breaks it all down!

Here are some other ofrendas to check out!
Ofrendas aren't always dedicated to specific people. Arizona artist Emily Costello made this installation in honor of abducted children. She has toys, candies and candles of the guardian angels to protect and help guide the children in the afterlife.

Collective ofrenda - This is an altar my craft group made for Frida Kahlo. We added strands of mini lights to make it all glow! We each contributed components that were special to us.

My husband made this one! The theme is Eternal Love and celebrates his grandparents wedding.The dresser is is Grandma Minnies, it's 75 years old. The dress and veil is also hers. He created the body from papier mache. She is looking into the mirror reflecting on her wedding day.

Matchbox Shrine by MicroJivvy
While some people go big with their altars, others go micro - check out this teeny-tiny matchbox ofrenda made by MicroJivvy at DollHouse Miniatures!

The day is young, there is still time ot make an altar for loved one! Here is how to do it!
If you are looking for crafty ideas, and even more info about altars, I have all that here.

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

Kathy :-)