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Wednesday 17 November 2010

What is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) ?

Dia de los Muertos also known as Day of the Dead,
is a holiday originating in Mexico.
The premise of the holiday is to celebrate deceased relatives.
It dates back to a month long celebration of the Aztecs.
Christian missionaries who were unable to stop the practice,
tied it to All Saints and All Souls days, so that it would fit 
better with their holidays. 
In America many people think of death
and graveyards as sad and scary things.
This is not the case in many other countries.
There are many variations throughout Mexico,
but there are certain features they all share.
Day one is to celebrate and welcome back
the spirits of babies and children. 
The second day is celebrating adults
and the third is to scare them back to the underworld. 

In Mexico families decorate gravestones,
light lanterns and have picnics in the graveyard.
 At the gravesites of children marigolds, toys,
hot chocolate and foods are placed. 
For adults, items include placing food,
cigarettes and tequila (a favorite).   
 The gravesite shrines are to encourage the spirits to visit.
Candles are an important part of the decorations
 to help spirits find their way.

Some beautiful examples of the celebration in Mexico can be found HERE

Pan de muertos, bread of the dead,
is often placed at gravesites or shrines. 
Sugar skulls are also colorful part of the celebration.
Some are made to eat, while other
are just for decoration. 
You can make your own using the recipe HERE
On shrines, sugar skulls would often have the name
of the departed loved one written on top. 
Sugar skulls have happy faces,
and are not usually made to be angry or
scary like Halloween skeletons.
In America, home shrines are used more often than gravesite shrines.
They can be as simple as a picture of a loved one with a small candle,
or can be quite elaborate. 

At Bombshell stamps,  there are so many wonderful sets to
help you create Day of the Dead projects.
There are some great examples in the gallery of projects like these:
 by Glittery Katie

 by Perky Nihilist

 by Mag
using Mi Amor

by Kas Mello

You can download the digi shrine for free in the forum HERE.

To view the complete collection of Day of the Dead and Sugar Skulls Stamps Visit the store HERE


  1. Great article, Kas! I love Dia de Los Muertos and reading about it's colorful history.

  2. Loved this post - I never tire of reading about this tradition - I wish it was embraced more over here in the UK I think it would help people deal with grief so much better if they were encouraged to think of their loved ones in this way :)

  3. Great article. The holiday is so much better known in the western part of the U.S. than it is in the east.

    I love all those samples too.

  4. Fantastic article Kas!!! So up your alley too!