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Connecting With Our Ancestors Through Día de los Muertos Altars

Día de los Muertos on November 1 and 2 is just a few days way and many are preparing to make an altar at home.

What began millennia ago as two 20-day festivals honoring deceased loved ones has been reduced in some instances to beer-sponsored parties. In others, Día de los Muertos is an art installation.

Muertos is one of the few ancient ceremonies that survived European contact, it literally connects us to the traditions of our ancestors. As Mexican people, it’s important that we remember that far before Día de Muertos is “cool” sugar skulls, calavera face paint and mega ofrendas, it’s a time to honor our loved ones and reconnect with our culture.

Here are a few things you can start getting ready for your family’s Muertos altar:

• Flor de Cempasúchil - Ask for marigolds at the garden section of your local home improvement store.

• Pan de Muerto - Call the nearest Mexican panadería to make sure they’re making some by the 31st. If not, here’s a recipe.

• Papel Picado - Mexican book stores and craft shops should have it. If you don’t find any there, try a teacher supply store.

• Calaveras de Azúcar - Mexican grocery stores and panaderías will sometimes carry them for Muertos. If you don’t find any there, try looking for a calaverita mold at your local art supply store. Here’s a recipe to make them at home.

Hope this helps. Look for more info on Muertos in the coming days.

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