Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) occurs every November 1st and 2nd. Traditionally, the first day celebrates children, our “los angelitos” or little angels. The second day honors adults who have passed. This is also when families will go to the cemetery and spend the night and day mourning, playing music, eating, celebrating with loved ones at their graves. Day of the Dead is not meant to scare people, it is simply and lovingly a day of remembering our dead, it is their day to be honored and we honor them by celebrating their lives and life through altars, with offerings of their favorite foods and items, smiling with their memories, and engaging their happiness through fiestas and love.
Nichos, retablos, altars….these can be simple or extravagant. Traditionally, these expressions were made from old boxes, cigar boxes, cans or small tin boxes–anything put together or that could be used to create a niche for placing objects that honor someone you love, who has passed.
I was excited to participate in a local art district fundraiser with the Nicole Barosi Gallery, who invited valley artists to purchase cigar boxes provided by the gallery and create Day of the Dead altars to be sold with proceeds going to the FIND food bank. Not only is FIND food bank a great organization to help contribute to, I thought it was such a fitting way to extend the Day of the Dead theme for traditional altars. One element all altars include is food and drink, set out for the hungry spirits of loved ones who have traveled so far to be near us once again. Their favorite foods and traditional foods (and drink) are offered to nourish the souls after their long journey. As the celebration and memories continue and only after it is believed the souls “get their fill,” these food offerings can then be shared with family.
The images in this post are hints or partial peeks related to two altars I am happy to have in this fundraiser benefit. Click here to see photos from the art opening and images of nearly every altar up for sale, beginning November 7, 2012 (artists are not revealed until after the sale of their altar piece). Altars will be priced at $77 each, with $67 going to FIND Food Bank. Each altar sold will provide 469 meals for underprivileged Coachella Valley residents.
*a portion of this post is from a previous post of mine via Mouse House blog