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Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead, dia de los muertos, dis de los inocentes, Mexican Holiday, Halloween

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead? It’s a Mexican holiday but I think it’s something everyone who has ever lost someone could benefit from taking part in. It’s hard when you lose someone you love because of the finality of the situation but when you celebrate Day of the Dead, there is a comfort to be had every year. It’s about being soft and being strong at the same time.

First, let me start by telling you what Day of the Dead is really about. I know it follows immediately after the pagan holiday, Halloween, but it is not the same. Not at all. One holiday is celebrated by dressing up and begging for candy from strangers, the other is celebrated by building alters and remembering loved ones who we’ve lost.

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Day of the Dead we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Day of the Dead we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that they dead enjoyed in their life.

I like that Day of the Dead recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Day of the Dead, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

I like to think of it as a way of staying connected to those I love that have passed on. Sure the connection is based on building an altar and spending a day or two celebrating their lives and my life with them but it helps. In the end, it makes me feel not so much like I lost them but like they are still with me, all around me.

I find this particularly comforting on Dia de los Inocentes. I don’t have a headstone to decorate with marigolds or photos to use on an altar but I do take the day to remember the baby I lost. Losing a baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever survived and Dia de Los Inocentes is very personal for me because it’s not about a spectacle or a grandiose gesture, in my case. It’s about quietly grieving my loss but at the same time being thankful that I had that baby in my life for as long as I did. I celebrate the possibility and the blessing.

In a weird way it gives me closure while at the exact same time it makes me feel connected to my baby and to the world in away that I don’t on most days. For me, Day of the Dead, especially Dia de los Inocentes, is about being strong while being soft.

Who would you celebrate on Day of the Dead?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Day of the Dead are all mine.

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Disclosure: This post about Dia de Los Muertos is part of a sponsored campaign with General Mills. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

When someone we love dies, it can be crippling. The hardest part of living after losing someone is surviving without them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an elderly grandparent or a new baby that you never got to meet; it hurts in a primal way that makes you want to crawl inside of yourself and die. Having experienced this pain, I can truly say that I look forward to celebrating Dia de Los Muertos with my family.

I know it sounds macabre, especially if you don’t know what it’s all about. Firstly, it’s not Halloween. That’s the holiday where little kids dress up like monsters and get free candy from their neighbors. Actually, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays but it is nothing like Dia de Los Muertos.

As a Latina, fall season means Dia de Los Muertos is right around the corner. Last year, we watched the movie Book of Life, with our girls, to start the dialogue. It’s a big part of our Mexican heritage. They’d seen sugar skulls but didn’t fully understand what the celebration of Dia los Muertos was about.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Dia de los Muertos we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism. I love this part.

The cemeteries in Mexico that are normally grey and melancholy, like any other cemetery, suddenly are bursting with color and life. You can’t believe the vibrant colors of beautiful sugar skulls and marigolds that fill the cemetery. My father celebrates this every year by going to Mexico and decorating the tombs of my Tio Narciso, my Abuela Bertha and my Abuelito Manuel. I know this is hard for him but it is also cathartic to celebrate their lives, rather than just be sad they are gone.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Dia de los Muertos we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that the dead enjoyed while they were alive. For my Abuelito that would mean leche con pan (he was a simple man with simple tastes), for my Tio Narci that would definitely mean a Big Mac (he loved the United States, especially Big Macs and Ronald Regan) and for my Abuela it would mean as many beautiful marigolds as you could fit at her burial site.
I like that Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos are the calacas and Calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, on Pan de Muerto, on parade masks and even as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations because it’s a celebration of life.

In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Dia de los Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person. Ofrendas often have flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. For example, if I were to make an altar for my Abuelito Manuel it would include lots of sweets and breads like Pan de Muerto.

Pan de Muerto (Spanish for “bread of the dead”) is a big part of the Dia de los Muertos traditional celebration. Pan de Muerto is sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun and decorated with bone-shaped pieces. The living eat the bread along with our departed loved one’s other favorite foods in their honor. No Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without Pan de Muerto.

Bonus: You can save $3.00 when you buy 3 Big G cereals and “Pan de Muerto” bread to celebrate Dia de los muertos.

 

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calavera, beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead makeup

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead, also known as, Dia de Los Muertos? Always wanted to dress up but had no idea where to start? Well, I’ve got the perfect and easy Day of the Dead make-up tutorial? Celebrating Day of the Dead will never be easier than with my Dia de los Muertos make-up tutorial.

We celebrate it as one of our culture’s most sacred traditions. One of our favorite things to do besides building our altar to honor our dead is I to dress up as La Calavera Catrina. All the makings of the perfect DIY Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos Costume, was in my closet.

Halloween and Day of the Dead are right around the corner. Every year at this time we start trying to figure out what our Halloween costumes are going to be and what our costumes for the annual Zombie walk might be. Yes, we’re that family. As they say, a family that costumes together stays together.

This year I went Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, makeup for the zombie walk.

While the Big Guy and our girls are getting their zombie on, I prefer to dress up as la Calavera Catrina, more universally recognized as the Day of the Dead Doll.  Dia de lo Muertos royalty.

READ ALSO: How Disney’s Coco got Mexican Culture Right

I love the vibrant colors and the fact that I get to share my Latino culture with my daughters in such a big, beautiful way. I stick out like a flower among weeds with my make-up compared to all the zombies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy and it’s perfect for adults and kids.

The hard part is getting the make-up off but with a quick trip to WalMart, I can pick up a package of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and removal is easy peasy.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get your very own Day of the Dead look with this Dia De Los Muertos Make-Up Tutorial:

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  1. First, begin by spreading an even layer of the Clown White make-up all over the entire face, except the eye sockets, with a sponge, and set with powder. It is important to set the color with the powder, because the black lines and color on top may get smudged unless you place a barrier in between.

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2.  Next, sculpt the perimeter of the eye sockets with black liquid eyeliner, it allows you be more precise with your lines. Then intensify the area by blending a matte black shadow in the same hue over the top of the entire eyelid and filling in.

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3.  For detailing, I used a black liquid liner with a precise tip, and drew an upside-down heart on the nose, two rows of scalloping, connected by a circular motion, that surrounded the eyes and the two small circles on either side of my cheekbones. Mark out seven lines in a V-shape on your forehead. I made a jewel in the middle of mine. Connect the lines with curved shapes to create a spider weUse the same liquid liner to draw the two lines on your cheeks and draw a rose on your chin.

READ ALSO: How to Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos

4.  Use a color wheel of your choice to fill in the scalloping around your eyes, your jewel and any other designs on your face that need color. I set the color with more translucent powder, not too much, just enough to keep the color from running.

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5.  Moving on to the lips, I wanted red lips so I used my red lipstick to draw in my lips. Then with the black liquid eyeliner, I drew in the intersecting lines across my lips. I let all lines dry well and then went over with liquid eyeliner again.

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6.  With the liquid liner, add a few dotted details over the face, and a flower on your chin. Touch up individual areas with the color palette of your choice as needed, and after a few coats of mascara.

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After showing off your gorgeous la Calavera Catrina Dia de Los Muertos makeup on day of the dead or Halloween, you can easily remove it using Neutrogena Makeup remover cleansing towelettes. It will effectively dissolve all traces of dirt, oil and, most importantly, makeup, even the waterproof mascara that you used to make your Calavera eyes pop. The cloths are ultra-soft and gentle with superior cleansing technology that is clinically proven to easily remove 99.3% of the most stubborn Halloween makeup. One step and you have clean skin with no residue.

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What are you dressing as this Halloween, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos?

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Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos are only a few days away.

Last weekend was our city’s annual Fright Night and Zombie walk. My daughters have been wanting to participate for the past 3 years but we’ve felt they were too young to be immersed in the middle of all of those “zombies” so we’ve been watching from the sidelines. This year, we decided would be the year that we all walked “amongst the dead”. They were zombies and I was la Calavera Catrina, recognized as a sugar skull.

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My husband and girls dressed as authentic walking dead zombies. My husband was a typical zombie ironically wearing a blood smeared “Be Kind to the Earth” t-shirt with a vintage plaid flannel. I guess he was going for hipster zombie look.

My 9-year-old was a prom queen zombie. Luckily her ballet rehearsal was done in just enough time to get home, change into her “prom” dress and dead face. My littlest one was the cutest dead school girl ever.

My little brother and I chose to go in a different direction. I love the Walking Dead but I just can’t make myself drag my legs and growl at people so my brother dressed as a sugar skull and I dressed as the Grand Dame of Dia De Los Muertos, la Calavera Catrina. The best part? Everything I needed was in my closet.

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Here is how to apply the Dia de Los Muertos make-up and pull together a costume that will make heads turn.

I think it turned out awesome!

 

      1. Begin with an even layer of the Ben Nye Clown White make-up all over the entire face, except the eye sockets, with a sponge, and set with powder. You can buy setting powder at the Halloween shop but, honestly, baby powder works just as well. It is important to set the color with the powder, because the black lines and color on top may get smudged unless you place a barrier in between. Seriously, your face will look like it is melting off if you don’t and who wants to go through all that time painstakingly applying make-up only to have it slide right off your face?
      2. Next, I sculpted the perimeter of my eye socket with a black liquid eyeliner, it’s much easier to use than regular black face make-up and it lets you be more precise with your lines. Then intensify the area by blending a matte black shadow in the same hue over the top of the entire eyelid and filling in the drawn socket.
      3. For the detailing, pick up a black liquid liner with a precise tip, and draw an upside-down heart on the nose, the two rows of scalloping, connected by a circular motion, that surrounds the eyes and the two small circles on either side of my cheek bones. Mark out seven lines in a V-shape on your forehead. I made a jewel in the middle of mine, you can too or not, whatever you choose. Connect the lines with curved shapes to create a spider web.
      4. Use the same liquid liner to draw the two lines on your cheeks and draw a rose on your chin.
      5. Use a color wheel of your choice to fill in the scalloping around your eyes, your jewel and any other designs on your face that need color. I set the color with more translucent powder, not too much, just enough to keep the color from running.
      6. Moving on to the lips, I wanted red lips so I used my Red Chanel lipstick to draw in my lips. Then with the black liquid eyeliner, I drew in the intersecting lines across my lips. I let all lines dry well and then went over with liquid eyeliner again.
      7. With the liquid liner, add a few dotted details over the face, and a flower on your chin. Touch up individual areas with the color palette of your choice as needed, and after a few coats of mascara, I used fake-eyelashes to give my eyes a little extra umph.

For the hair, I simply washed my hair and dried it curly. Teased it. Pulled it to a curly, side pony tail and then added two oversized red roses behind my ears, which I held in with bobby pins. You could also opt for a headband with flowers on it.

To finish the look, I shopped my closet. Sometimes being a Latina with a dad who retires to Mexico 8 months a year has its advantages. I wore a long black skirt, a white peasant blouse with red, yellow and green roses from Mexico as my blouse, an ornate, traditional Kelly green velvet apron with gold scalloping and bright gold shawl. It came together perfectly but, honestly, the make-up makes the costume.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

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Do you celebrate Dia de Los Muertos?

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