Dia de los Muertos / DOTD + DIY

Today, we’re blending the practical North American tradition of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) with the spiritual South American tradition of DOTD (Day of the Dead).  During the DOTD, or Dia de los Muertos, Americans honor friends and family members who have passed from this world by building “ofrendas” or altars.  According to the city of San Antonio’s Centro Cultural Aztlan, the altars welcome returning spirits who drop by for the Holiday.  Building your altar starts with a photo of your loved one (the Aztecs had a very early version of Facebook), and continues with adding fruit punch (this is a favorite with spirits – who knew?), sweet “pan de muerto”, which is a round loaf topped with skull and cross bones, and a number of symbolic presents and mementos from the deceased person’s life.  For a complete DIY for your DOTD, please visit the Texas Monthly.  For a complete tour of the celebration, please view the online DOTD exhibition at the Smithsonian Latino Center.  (Illustration by Marc Burckhardt for the Texas Monthly)

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