Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to make Dia De Los Muertos Ofrenda


Today we are building our ofrenda (Mexican altar) for Dia De Los Muertos. Day of the Dead is celebrated today and tomorrow and is one of my favorite holidays. We build an altar using our table covered with a bold floral tablecloth, window sills (great for candles), and branches we found outside covered with lights and mexican ornaments. You can use boxes with tablecloths to create depth and dimension. Marigolds are used traditionally, as the smell is said to attract the dead and show them the way.

Once you get your altar up, you can add candles to help light the way for the dead. Then you place foods and items your loved ones enjoyed before they passed on. I like lots of color and candlelight. Place photographs of loved ones on the altar and anything else you think is appropriate.

We do a small vegan Mexican inspired feast consisting of black beans, guacamole, salsa, and chips. I have ambitions to veganize Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerto) but haven't carried them through yet, same thing for the sugar skulls. This year the plan is to add Mexican wedding cookies to our feast where there will be fruit for my grandmother and oreos for my dad.

I am not a religious person, but I love Dia de los Muertos. I love the idea of celebrating those that we miss and embracing life in this moment. My son gets a big kick out of hearing stories about his relatives he never got to meet and it just makes me feel better about life to have this holiday to look forward to every year.

image courtesy of: http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/

8 comments:

SLY said...

this is one of my favorite holidays. you mentioned you prepared a vegan meal too. I'm going to assume you know its World Vegan Day as well!

Mary said...

Your altar is beautiful!

Kittee at Cake Maker to the Stars made vegan sugar skulls this year:

http://kitteekake.blogspot.com/2009/11/dia-de-los-muertos.html

I made some polvorones last March. They turned out well!

http://www.mittenmachen.com/2009/02/polvorones-mexican-sugar-cookies.html

Eco Mama said...

Hi Mary! This isn't my ofrenda (though I do plan to replace the photo with mine if it turns out tonight). Thanks for the link to the sugar skull recipe! And the polvorones!
xo
Eco Mama

Eco Mama said...

Hi SLY, it's vegan day every day at our house! Are you going to make a vegan feast--what's on your menu?
xo
Eco Mama

Shelagh said...

What a beautiful post. I love the idea of having a formal way to celebrate life and remember those we have lost. My Ukrainian grandparents used to have a day like this when they visited the cemetery of their loved ones and had a feast in celebration of their ancestors. Thank you for reminding me - I'm off to ask my mom more about it.

Eco Mama said...

Thank you for sharing Shelagh!
xo
Eco Mama

Micah said...

This is a great post.. Very informative... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your every post that's why I think I'd come here more often. Keep it up! By the way, you can also drop by my blogs. They're about Vegetable Gardening and Composting. I'm sure you'd find my blogs helpful too.

Eco Mama said...

Thanks Micah!
xo
Eco Mama