Dia de Los Muertos

#SundayShare: Photos, Prose, Poetry

During the week, I often come across poetry, a bit of writing, and/or a photo that gives me pause in a satisfying way where I reconnect with the present. I’d like to share these moments with you.

All of the poems and photographs here celebrate the upcoming Dia De Los Muertos.

By Maria Valladolid-Hutton

Dia de Los Muertos is on November 1st and 2nd. These are days to honor your dearly departed.

People who build ofrendas use the Cempasúchil flower (Mexican Marigold). Maybe you’ve seen vendors near cemeteries or on corners selling the flowers. The twenty-petal flower has a unique musky, pungent smell and is used to call forth the spirits of loved ones.

With every celebration comes an origin story. This one comes from centuries ago.


This beautiful legend tells the love story of two young Aztecs, Xóchitl and Huitzilin, as well as the legend about the Cempasúchil flower.

The romance between these two young people began when they were still little. As children, they had fun playing together and enjoying the surroundings of their town. In time, it was natural that a great love blossomed between them.

They say that every afternoon they went up to the top of the mountain to bring flowers to Tonatiuh, the sun god, he seemed to smile at them from the heights before the offering of lovers, and they swore to love each other forever, even beyond death.

One day the war came, and the lovers had to part because the young Huitzilin had to go to fight.

Sadly soon after, news came that Huitzilin had been wounded and eventually killed. The beautiful Xóchitl felt her heart break with pain.

She decided to climb the mountain for the last time to implore Tonatiuh, the sun god, to unite her forever with his love. The shaken sun released one of its rays, and when it touched the girl, it turned her into a beautiful flower with colors as intense as the sun’s rays.

In a short time, a hummingbird arrived that lovingly settled in the center of the flower.

It was Huitzilin who had transformed into a beautiful hummingbird. Instantly the flower opened into 20 petals, with an intense and mysterious aroma … Lovers would always be together as long as marigolds and hummingbirds existed.

This is how the marigold flower was born, the flower of the dead.

Day of the Dead Poem

by Alberto Rios

It is not simply the Day of the Dead—loud, and parties.
More quietly, it is the day of my dead. The day of your dead.

These days, the neon of it all, the big-teeth, laughing skulls,
The posed calacas and Catrinas and happy dead people doing funny things—

It’s all in good humor, and sometimes I can’t help myself: I laugh out loud, too.
But I miss my father. My grandmother has been gone

Almost so long I can’t grab hold of her voice with my ears anymore,
Not easily. My mother-in-law, she’s still here, still in things packed

In boxes, her laughter on videotape, and in conversations.
Our dog died several years ago, and I try to say his name

Whenever I leave the house—You take care of this house now,
I say to him, the way I always have, the way he knows.

I grew up with the trips to the cemetery and pan de muerto,
The prayers and the favorite foods, the carne asada, the beer.

But that was in the small town where my memory still lives.
Today, I’m in the big city, and that small town feels far away.

Part II-IV of the poem can be found at Poets.org

You know the origin story and the flowers used. Here’s a photo of Huitzilin as the hummingbird.

By Catpoe

You don’t have to be of Mexican heritage to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos. You don’t even have to build an altar.

But if you do, know that they can be as simple as a candle, photos of the departed, water, and paper (these are the four elements), or as elaborate as a multi-tiered altar with favorite foods, drink, flowers, photos, and Papel Picado.

See you next Sunday. I hope you enjoy your week and partake of some of the sweet treats of Halloween.

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Latino culture

Día De Los Muertos is Coming, Are You Ready?

Day of the Dead Ofrenda honoring Mexican women in the arts, 2015.


There is so much energy in the air I can feel the spirits descending.

November 1st is generally referred to as Día De Los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Día De Los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels).

November 2nd is the actual DÍa De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The past week in America has been particularly sorrowful. Perhaps, honoring the departed on November 1st and 2nd is helpful to you.

During our childhood, we had altars year round. They always contained the Virgen de Guadalupe, Sacred Heart of Jesus, votives, and one or two photos of someone who recently passed.

To celebrate the Day of the Dead people make altars or ofrendas (offerings) to their deceased. This can be at a cemetery (like in Mexico), in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, wherever you like.

This year my mom made a Day of the Dead altar in the living room. One side of the altar contained the photos of her deceased sisters and brothers, sister-in-law’s, and cousins. The other side, as you can see, has photos of her parents and my dad, and Cesar Chavez, who my mother admired so much.

Ofrenda to parents and husband and Cesar Chavez

My sister’s ofrenda dedicated to the memory of her husband, friends, and our relatives:

A bedroom ofrenda for Dia De Los Muertos


An altar in the library of the high school where my sister works:

An ofrenda in a high school library


Ofrendas and altars are our way of visiting with, remembering and honoring our ancestors and loved ones who’ve departed.

If you are thinking of making your own altar (you still have time) check out these past posts.

The Icons of Day of the Dead.

What’s Up With Mexican Culture and Death?

The Icons of Day of the Dead.

I leave you with these poems from sddayofthedead.org/poems

“In the indigenous, aboriginal perspective on death, both life and death are mere aspects of a common duality or eternal cycle, as denoted in the following Native American poem from North America:

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.

What is Death?
What is death? It is the glass of life broken into a
thousand pieces, where the soul disperses like
perfume from a flask, into the silence of the eternal night.

Unknown Author

Through the Eyes of the Soul, Day of the Dead in Mexico
Unique Life
Be as happy as you can, oh king Tecayehyatzin
You who appreciates the jewels that flourish!
Will we live again?

Your heart knows this:
We only live once!
Vida única
¡Alégrate en extremo, oh rey Tecayehuatzin,
valuador de joyas florecientes!

¿Acaso una vez más vendremos a vivir?
Tu corazón lo sabe así:
¡Sólo una vez venimos a la vida!

Xayacamachan 1510 A.D.


If you have any questions/comments, please let me know. Thanks!