Día de los Muertos is a time to celebrate life, death, and the cycle encompassing it all. As people who've been fortunate to make a life for ourselves in Mexico, we always observe the holiday with respect and reverence for those around us.
The altars created for Día de los Muertos are one of its more distinguishing traditions. They're created not just with the intention of honoring loved ones who've passed on, but to welcome them back: after all, Día de los Muertos celebrates the season of death and is the one time of year souls can return to coexist with the living.
Our altar this year was created out of honor and fondness for our own loved ones, but with a keen attention to more traditional aesthetics and materials.
The components of altars can and should vary from family to family and person to person, but there are some more traditional things to keep in mind if you want to make your own.
The Four Elements
Wind, water, fire, and earth should all be acknowledged and represented somehow in the offerings.
Arches are thought to be portals that allow souls to reenter the physical world.
Photos and tokens of your those you're honoring help guide them to you.
Marigolds (or other Day of the Dead flowers)
Marigolds are a common staple across altars. They bloom during the fall season and are subsequently associated with the season of death, of life winding down and preparing to cease for the winter.
Food and Drink
It's a celebration, after all! Be sure to welcome your beloved guests with the food and drink they loved in life.