Monday, November 4, 2013

Ofrendas ~ Dia de los Muertos

Ofrendas... each significant in Honoring and in Remembrance of who it has been Created for.

Along with the Spiritual and Personal significance each Altar represents and pays Homage to, I find each to also be a Beautiful Ephemeral Work of Art.

The Sugar Skulls are my personal Favorite Offering on the Altars and as we take you with us during the Dia de los Muertos Celebration you will see many of them... by amateur and professional Artists. Each made for someone Special who is now in Eternity in the Lives of someone who is still on this side of Time and Celebrating them with fond Remembrance.

I find the Calavera Skullies to be Joyful, Colorful and Vibrant... which is the way I always want to Honor our Departed Loved Ones... with Joy, Beauty and Vibrant Memories of their Lives.  Altars Created for them with the same Love and Attention that we gave them in Life.  And for those within the Family who never got to meet and know them, a Connection through our Rituals, Traditions, Memories and Stories of those Beloved Ancestors who came before them.

And though many of the Dia de los Muertos Altars are Joyful Remembrance of our own Loved Ones...

There are also those that are much more Sombre in their Significance and Story... and Remember and Honor the Lives of the 'Lost'... those whose Lives ended Tragically and whose Stories should not be ignored, diminished or forgotten.

This Memorial Altar paying Homage to those who died horrible deaths risking all for a better life for themselves and their Families made us all weep.  Regardless of the Politics of controversial issues and which stance taken, the Humanity and Empathy for Suffering and Desperation Touches the Soul and the Spirit in a Profound way when you see the Images and Reality up close and personal.  Even if it doesn't happen to be personal to you.  We have Family on both sides of the border and have felt the pain of involuntary separation of Family, for Princess T this is especially poignant and heartfelt.

Beautiful Art can often mask and be therapuetic for Personal Pain and Tragedy... trading Beauty for Ashes.

 Quetzalcoatl... the Feathered Serpent... a Mesoamerican diety.   From head...

... to tail... this Artistic Representation was Beautiful.

I am always Interested in learning of the Worship, Traditions, Rituals and Beliefs of other Civilizations and Cultures, I find it to be fascinating and informative.  I Respect each even if I do not Share the particular Faith of the Believer... as I always Hope others will do the same for mine.

Princess T will now show you the Decorating of a Sugar Skull for the Home Altar... this one will be for Grand-Dad... my Dad, her Great-Grandfather, who sadly, she never got to meet since he Passed before she was born.  She Loves to hear my Stories of Grand-Dad, it has brought his Life to her in a way she can Connect to him in a meaningful way... and he to her via Love that transcends death.

She spent a VERY long time Creating his Sugar Skull, many other Artists came and went as she diligently Invested so much of her Time Lovingly making it ultra Special for him.  The Sugar Skull Vendors and many other Patrons were Impressed at how Skillfully, Patiently and Lovingly she was Intent on Creating Grand-Dad's Masterpiece.  Yes, it brought tears to my eyes and Joy to my Heart, Dad will Love this Offering from his Little Princess.

She bypassed Lunch to complete it... instead just nibbling on a piece of Pan Dulce and saying she could wait 'til Dinnertime to eat, because this was more Important.  I Respected that Sacrificial Request... and we both bypassed Lunch and waited 'til Dinnertime.

Because after all... True Love should be Sacrificial.

She was very Proud of her results... and so was I... she cradled it like a Newborn Babe all the way Home...

Then placed it on our Altar in front of Grand-Dad's Image as her Offering to him...

These are Special Moments indeed!!!

And I thought of all of the other Lovingly Created Ofrendas... each an Offering from someone to someone Special in their Lives too.

I had wanted to Purchase this Sugar Skull Mask for my Nanna, since it was Named 'Nana'... alas, it was part of a matching set of T-Shirt, Canvas Art and Sugar Skull... and the T-Shirt was too Small... so I chose my other two Sugar Skull Masks from Artist Irma Sanchez.

Just look at the Beautiful Vibrant Colorful Fabric Art as the backdrop to this Altar!!!

In fact, many of the Ofrendas had Amazing Fabric Art.

I had so much Fun watching all of the Children Creating their Sugar Skulls... their Pure Creativity was Astonishing... most needed no Inspiration... their own Imaginations Soared Uninhibited and without Boundaries!

For a mere Five Dollars you could Decorate your own Sugar Skull... or for Ten have a Professional Artist Pre-Decorate one for you...

Needless to say, every Child was more Content to Decorate their own with the Vision they had for it and their Dearly Departed it would be Offered to.  And what a fine job each Child did.

The Stage where many Performers were Performing had a wealth of Lovely Calaveras as well...

And this Ofrenda was one of our Favorites because the Backdrop Scene was so Whimsical and Vibrant.   Down to the Calavera Cat...

And Calavera Dog!!!  *Smiles*  Yes, our Altars very often have Offerings and pay Homage to our Departed Beloved Fur Babies as well.

This Scene just made me Smile everywhere I looked at it's Details...

From the Calavera Mariachis Serenading the Calavera Couple...

To the Cigarette and Flan her Date was Enjoying...  *LOL*

Prince R only joined us for the Celebrations on Saturday and stayed Home to help Grandpa on Sunday when Princess T and I went back to partake in the Procession.   Grandpa just wasn't up to joining us this year and didn't want to take away from any of the Enjoyment we would have or for me to miss it two years in a row.  Last year due to a Family Medical Emergency I had been unable to Attend at all.

So it was nice that this year I got to enjoy two days of the Celebrations and the Procession which culminates the Festivities.

I sometimes have a difficult time juggling Caregiver Responsibilities with taking time for myself and meeting myself at my own Point of Need... but after my own recent Medical Emergency I realize I must give myself Respites for my own Health and Well-Being.   This was one such Respite and it renewed my Joy, my Peace and my Spirit tremendously.  Such things keep me Centered and Grounded.

And yet also allow my Imagination, Inspiration and Creativity to Soar.  That is very Important to us Artistic Souls, Creativity Feeds our Soul.

I'm still Smiling about the Calavera Cat... I'm Imagining it being my Beloved Rat Boy... or perhaps one of our many other Beloved Fur Baby Cats that have Passed over the Years... Missy Foo Foo... Gypsy... Jasmine... Jackie One-Eye... Peaches... Skinny... Fluffy... Cho-Cho Sandara... Love Muffin... Yuki Chia... Cleopatra... Precious... or Jackson.   Each held a Special place in our Family and our Hearts regardless of how long... or short... they remained in our Lives.

Whether an Ofrenda was Simple or Elaborate, I found each to be Lovely and I Enjoyed the Stories and Meaning attached to each Creation.

I thought I'd Share some more of Irma's Magnificent Sugar Skull Masks with you... Princess T and I chose the Pink Bowed Mask as our Second Acquisition for our Home Altar as an Offering to my Nanna, when the Nana Mask wasn't going to be an option.   I also seriously Loved the Green, Gray and Turquoise Mask in the lower righthand corner. 

And heres Irma herself... who is such a Sweet Soul with such Passion for her Art and her Causes.

A Close-Up of the first Mask I chose for our Altar from Irma's Collection.  I'm glad we bought ours early because by Sunday most had Sold.

Here's Prince R hard at work Creating his Sugar Skull...

And Princess T busy Creating her first Sugar Skull on the first day we Attended the Celebration.

 She couldn't wait to Create another one on the Second Day!  I really must find some Sugar Skull Molds so that we can Create more at Home because the G-Kid Force really Enjoyed the Creative Process tremendously.

The Paper Mache' Creations were Awesome too... and so Whimsical and Colorful!

It would have been very difficult to choose 'a' Favorite amongst them all...

And though many were Displays... many others were for Sale in the Mercado, Designed and Created by a Host of very Talented Local Folk Artists.

One of the reasons I'm an avid Supporter of the Desert Botanical Gardens and have been a Member for Years is that they promote the Arts and especially Local Artisans.

Every Artist and Vendor also unanimously agreed that they make Attending the Shows and Events so reasonable that it is do-able for each Artist without creating Financial Hardship.  So many Shows and Events charge such exhorbitant fees that it could be out of reach for many Grass Roots Artists or they couldn't turn a profit from their Work after paying out for their Space.

I like to Support any Local Venue, Organization or Business that gives Artists a break, Exposure and Supports the Local Talents and worthy Causes.

This was my Favorite Sugar Skull... the Vendor's Husband had Created it several years ago and it took him three days to complete.  If properly Preserved they can last for quite some time.  I would have liked to have bought this piece but I could understand their Attachment to it and Respected that it was for Display Only and to Inspire others in their Creative Process.  The Vendor's Husband did do Custom pieces upon request though.

And his Work was Exceptional as you can see... I Loved this piece too and we do have a Maria in the Family... so... it could work!  *Winks*

And this Arizona State Flag Inspired piece was Lovely too.

As always I took a gazillion Images... as you knew I would... *LOL*

I'm a very Visual person and Photography gives me an Art Form to Preserve those Visuals that Inspired me or took my breath away.

I've actually never heard anyone lament that they took too many pictures... only those that lament that they never took enough... I never want to have that particular Regret.  And with the new Technology, Photography has now become such an inexpensive Hobby and Art Form and Cyberspace gives us the Luxury of Sharing any or all of it.

And for those of us who are lousy as Editors and Editing our Images... why not Share the majority of them?!?  *Winks*

You don't have to get thru the whole Post if you can't or don't want to...

But I do Hope you have wanted to join us the whole way... and will come back later for the Procession and some of the other Festivities and Visuals?

The Ofrendas were only one portion of the whole Celebration...

So even if you weren't that 'into' Creating a Sugar Skull for your Home Altar there was lots more to partake in.

Though doesn't this make you want to Create at least one?!?  *Smiles*

So Inspiring and such Fun... your only limits are the boundaries of your Imagination...

And if you're anything like us you have no boundaries or limits to your Imagination?!?

And Tonight many Prayers will go up on behalf of those whose Stories really Touched our Hearts, our Soul and our Spirit... and for those they left behind... because you simply cannot kill a Dream.

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian



  1. I love Day of the Dead. The sugar skulls are my favorite. Beautiful alter. Thanks for sharing the lovely pics:)

  2. Such a wonderful post on this Dawn.. It was nice seeing how involved the grand kids are ..I can;t wait to do this with my Lily... So many beautiful sugar skulls.... I did a small alter for my Mexican ancestors.... ...I hope the health issues are not serious my sure & take care of your self....

    XO Linda

  3. Thank you for sharing all this.It is a most beloved holiday in my home and I enjoy seeing how others celebrate.


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl