Day of the Dead: Setting Up the Altar
by Victoria Challancin
I am surrounded by Death, and it is smiling.
I am surrounded by Death, and it is smiling. That's what came to me today as I strolled through the Día de los Muertos market that appears near the end of October every year in San Miguel. It is the "go-to" place for all your altar needs, and it is bursting with life overlaid with a tinge of Death. But not sadness. No, not sadness.
Everything You Need for the Altar
Every home in Mexico, almost without exception, sets up an altar to honor those who have passed. Some are simple--a photo, a flower, a saint or a cross; some are incredibly complex. Here are just a few photos I took at this year's market, where you can buy altar decorations.
For past posts on Day of the Dead, click here for some history, a brief post on The Poetry of Death, and photos of altars from the humble to the extravagant and here for more market photos of alfeñiques, or the sugar skulls and sugar figures from last year's market.
Candles and papel chino or papel picado
"The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, and celebrates it. It is one of his favorite playthings and his most steadfast love." Octavio Paz, Mexican poet
Skulls and Figures
More skulls, some with names
And yes, with rollers
Guacamole in molcajete
Chicken mole with Mexican Rice and peas in a cazuela
Atole with tamales
Beans and Rice...Tacos with lettuce and cream on top
Cakes to mark each and every celebration of Life
Baskets of Fruit
Miniature bottles of your drink of choice...
"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." George Bernard Shaw
©Victoria Challancin. All Rights Reserved.
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