Monday, October 18, 2010

Day Of The Dead

Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. It's a time to remember dearly departed loved ones and honor what they brought to your life.

I have loved this holiday ever since I lived in Mexico and saw these celebrations first hand. The cemeteries were full of all night parties and one remembrance was as festive as the next. It’s also a night that you excuse any excessive drinking.

I started building an October-November altar years ago. I leave it up for a month or more and it is a daily reminder of the beautiful things that they brought to my life while they were here.

I add to it every year. This year I bought a classic Mexican statue of the dead bride (morbid to you but classic folk-art in Mexico) and a small prayer altar with the Virgin Mary inside.

My altar is adorned with many things including a bottle of peppermint schnapps’ in honor of my brother Tim and a pomegranate because my dad loved to bring them home every Christmas.

I took it a step further this year and put up a photo of my old boyfriend. This was definitely a year of renewal for me so I decided that I would bury the past and move on with the new. It felt great to get rid of the baggage.

Making a Day of the Dead altar is easy. Be creative and make something that is significant to you. Use photos, water (water is the source of life and represents purity), candles (the flame guides the spirits on their journey), marigolds (marigolds and their fragrance are synonymous with Day of the Dead) food and drink (It is believed that they consume the scents and the essence of the food and drink) and whatever else you have that will clear the space of any negative energy or bad spirits.

And just when I decided to put Gourmet Magazine on my altar this year, The New York Times announced that “Gourmet” will be seen on newsstands once again — a third life — but it will appear much less frequently than the original.

I am claiming a sixth life this year so I am definitely celebrating.

Bon Appetit!