Dia de los Muertos Altar Preparation

Preparations are beginning for our Dia de los Muertos party this year. Step one is to set up the household altar. The shelves that I used to use have since been pressed into service in my kitchen, so I need to come up with something new. In the meantime, I'm gathering all the important goodies for the altar so I'm ready to set it up. I need photos or symbols of my loved ones. In the past, we've also had the children draw pictures of lost loved ones. Food is a must, including where possible, the favourite foods of those we're honouring. A Pan de Muerto is a great food offering. Salt is always included on the altar. Then we need papel picado and lots and lots of flowers. I still haven't managed to acquire a sugar skull mould, so I use plastic skulls from the party shop, decorated to look more calavera-like.

You can build separate small altars for particular people if you like. A few years ago, I created a small shrine for my great-aunt Kathleen, which I usually include on my main altar. Because I have a busy household, filled with children and pets, it's easier to put everything on one main altar, though it's not entirely traditional.

You can find some nice tutorials for building your own altar at The Mija Chronicles and Celebrate Day of the Dead. I'm off to Food Lovers Market to buy up all their marigolds...

Gorgeous altar by Steef V on Flickr.

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