Dia de los Muertos display at Barrio Star restaurant, San Diego

Display at Barrio Star, San Diego

I was first introduced to the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) while working at Chicago Children’s Museum. I was immediately captivated by both the vibrant artistic traditions of the holiday and the simultaneous irreverence for, and respect of, death. By making death an annual part of life, celebrating our loved ones who have passed away, and poking fun at passing on, the holiday is a much healthier view of death than what I’ve found in U.S. tradtions.

The Hubs was already a fan of Dia de los Muertos art when we met, and we have enjoyed collecting beautiful artisan work in our home, most of which is displayed year round.

Frieda Kahlo nichos Dia de los Muertos

Nichos honoring Frieda Kahlo

Every year we put up our altar, pulling out our special items and photos of our loved ones who have passed, in addition to the skeleton sculptures and sugar skulls we have in our collection.Altar Dia de los MuertosWe added four photos this year: Buddy Girl, my father-in-law, our friend Pete, and our little nephew.

I do love this tradition, as it helps me to think about and appreciate all those special people we have loved who crossed over. I remember my friend Ron—a former roommate who we lost to AIDS, beautiful Jen—killed in a car crash, and lovely Suzanne—who lost her battle with cancer two years ago.

Who would you include in your altar, if you made one?

For a more traditional approach to an altar and more about the wonderful traditions surrounding El Dia on November 1st, this post gives an excellent description. Our favorite artisan group is Cielito Lindo Estudio, based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available.)