An Ofrenda for Mike (and me)

Posted on: Saturday, October 27, 2012

6 Days till Dia de los Muertos Celebration

We hope you are planning to join us for this wonderful fundraiser for programs and services at The Healing Center.  If you have not purchased tickets or signed up for volunteering, there is still time to do so.  Click here for Tickets and here for Volunteer Sign-up.

For those of you who’ve already registered, consider bringing a photo of your loved ones for our communal ofrenda.  What is an ofrenda you might ask?  Check out the one I made for my Michael at The Healing Center, visit my YouTube Video.  Mike was a river rafting guide and mountain climber so I included postcards he sent me from his adventures, as well as the journal he wrote while climbing Mt. Everest (Mike died on Mt. Everest in May 2005, he was 39 and I was 30.)  I’ve also added two pictures of Mike, his favorite candy, food and water for his journey, a candle, and marigolds to light his way to the celebration we are having on November 2.

The Day of the Dead celebration is very new to me and I enjoy thinking of Mike continuing to celebrate life with me.  Since his death I have felt his presence and guidance in so many ways.  I love the idea of sharing a piece of him with all of you on this celebratory day to benefit new grieving widows and widowers who will walk through our door tomorrow.

3/4 of the money that supports clients and programs at The Healing Center, comes from individuals and events like this fall fundraiser.  Please consider inviting friends, family and co-workers who will help support our life-saving and life-renewing programs.

More info on how to create an ofrenda

Ofrendas are made for the souls of the loved ones who have passed on. Though each altar is unique to each person, the premise is to honor the loved ones and welcome them back to this earth. Ofrendas contain many different items…

  •  Pictures of the loved one who the altar is dedicated to are placed around the table. Mostly, a main picture is placed as a sort of “centerpiece” to the Ofrenda.
  •  Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, is a traditional food that is placed on most altars. The essence of the bread is said to be eaten by the souls of the dead who return during El Día de los Muertos. Other traditional food items, such as Tamales and Mole, are set out as well. Favorite foods of the dead can also be displayed in order to personalize the altars. (11)
  • Calacas, or skeletons, are placed around the tables as well. These are said to let people in our world see and hold something tangible that can hold the spirit of each loved one. Skulls have been a huge symbol of death and then rebirth for the Meso-Americans and were used to honor the dead during this ritual. Sugar skulls are also a huge part of El Día de los Muertos. They are decorated by children and adults alike, and are set out around the altars and homes of the loved ones. Sugar skulls, though the thought of skulls may seem undesirable, are meant to be decorated in bright colors and symbolize the happiness of this holiday. (9)
  •  Marigolds are an incredibly important part of El Día de los Muertos, especially yellow marigolds. This specific type of flower is known as the sacred flower of the dead. They are hung on crosses and giant arches that are meant to welcome souls home. They are placed around altars and graves, as well as pathways through cemeteries. (4,11)
  • Candles are another major part of El Día de los Muertos. They are placed around not only the Altars but the graves of loved ones, houses, streets, and entire towns in order to light the path back home for the spirits. Certain colors have significance, especially purple, which symbolizes mourning, and also white and pink which symbolize hope and celebration.  In contemporary time, colors may reflect the favorite colors of loved ones or any colors that suit the families. (6)
  •  Grooming items, such as soaps and towels, are put on the altar. It is believed that because the dead have been traveling a long way to arrive back home, they would like to freshen up. (11)
  •  Strong fragrances are also laid out for the dead along with the traditional incense of copal.  Both are supposed to guide the dead to the altar and back home.  Copal was regarded by the Mayans as extremely sacred, and has been a traditional form of incense throughout Aztec and Mexican culture. (7)

El Día de los Muertos is an amazing celebration that has made its way out of just Mayan culture and into the traditions and cultures of people around the world.  The holiday lets people remember those they have lost in a happy and cheerful way, and lets people celebrate and honor the lives of their loved ones. El Día de los Muertos isn’t just a holiday, but a way to cherish everything their loved ones once loved and commemorate the memories they hold dear.

We hope you can join us for our El Día de los Muertos celebration on November 2nd!

 

 

 

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