Hello Sunshine! I hope all is well with you & family and you are enjoying the beginning of this beautiful Fall Season. We have had some cooler temperatures here in Austin and also storms. I always appreciate cooler temps and I even like the rain, but sometimes they can bring on my post brain injury migraines. So I have been away for the last week because of them. Enough about that though, I want to share with you what my fellow Texas Latino Bloggers are writing about: National Hispanic Heritage Month.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15th – October 15th. Most of you may follow my Instagram or Twitter or even this blog and know that I am a Proud Latina. I am always wanting to learn more about my Hispanic Heritage. Like, when I was able to meet The Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor at Book People, I was & am forever A Proud Latina. Or, when I posted my Instagram for Latinos Beyond Reel, I was encouraged to find more documentaries and more Latino Actors past and present that are not getting stereotyped. I encourage you to visit the webiste: National Hispanic Heritage Month to find more information about the observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
My story begins with my hair appointment~Funny, I know, but anyway… I was so happy to find out that my fantastic colorist is engaged and she is just glowing with happiness, as we all are when we know we are to wed for life. She was asking of our wedding and I was telling her that we have a very big Hispanic family and our wedding was 250+ guests. Oh & that we married on Halloween. She was so intrigued, as most are when they find out our wedding & now Anniversary is on Halloween. She is from San Antonio and was telling me how much she loves these ‘Big displays of Halloween or family members with the food and beer or liquor bottles.’ I said, ‘Oh, you are talking about The Ofrenda.’ It got me to thinking that maybe this is what I am to write about for my National Hispanic Heritage Month Post.
Ofrendas are an essential part of Dia de los Muertos celebrations. The word, Ofrenda means offering in Spanish. Ofrendas are also known as altars, but not the kind of altars for worshiping. These altars are for paying a special tribute to our departed. It may seem melancholy to have our wedding on Dia de los Muertos & even I had questioned it in the beginning. I called Sister Helen from my Catholic Church and she gave me a beautiful response of how she thought it was beautiful that we were having such a Blessed event on the Eve of All Saints Day. It was done. See, I no longer had my father and my grandfather had also passed prior to our wedding. My husband also has loss in his family that it was so fitting and felt comfortable to have this as our wedding date. We also had a close connection to Halloween in our dating history. We do not think of Halloween or Dia de los Muertos as a sad, scary or unpleasant time, but a time to bring both of our families together in our anniversary and honor & remember or departed that have passed over the years. Oh & this year there is going to be an animated movie called The Book of Life and it will be about living and the departed. I am looking forward to it!
It’s early still, but I want to give you enough time to prepare if you would like to make an Ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos. Now, these do not have to be morose or haunted, quite the contrary! The Ofrenda welcomes spirits, but guides back to the departed’s journey. Also, there is no correct or incorrect way to make an Ofrenda. I included pictures of our pet Betta Fish last year because he died & why not? We loved our Betta! If you have a pet you should include yours as well! It is all a part of your Faith & your family. Here are a few things you may want to include in your Ofrenda:
- Photographs of your loved one
- Glass of water represents quenching the thirst of the spirit after their long journey, water also purifies & cleanses
- Salt is to season the food that you are offering him & the continuance of life
- Pan de muerto ‘Bread of the Dead,’ is a dessert bread found at panaderías, Spanish bakeries, or HEB in Austin
- Favorite foods or beverages: a plate of food, candy bar, bottles of beer, wine, or other
- Small, personal items that belonged to the deceased: a watch, piece of jewelry, hat, belt, handkerchief, etc.
- Marigolds Sometimes a cross is made with petals of the cempasuchitl flower. Also with the petals, paths are set to guide the souls to the ofrenda. I bought my Marigolds from Ben White Florist last year if you are Austin
- Skeletons/Calaveras these are becoming popular in the shops every year! Any type of style you find is perfect to fit your decor or that may fit your loved one. I love to add as many as I can. Why not start a collection?
- Candles represent fire & at least one for each person being honored. Also four candles at the top represent the cardinal directions & provide a lighted path to this world
- Copal/Incense ~ Burning copal is a tradition from the Aztecs, who used the incense as an offering to the gods. It is still used in Catholic funeral masses
- Papel picado/Brightly Colored Cut Tissue Paper serves as a colorful & meaningful trim: Black = death, purple = grief or mourning, pink = celebration, white = hope yellow = sun
Other items that are known to be in Ofrendas are beans to represent fertility, woven baskets, pictures of Saints & toiletries. I like to make it a happy place. Our family and friends spirits are coming by and are having visitors and I want them to have a nice place to be entertained. I am always one to be the happy host!
This year I have a tough one because I will be adding my Beautiful Grandmother. I miss her so very much. I want her beautiful Spirit to be welcomed in the most beautiful Ofrenda ever! I am going to make a Pretty Pink Space Just for her! That is what an Ofrenda is, to make a special tribute to the departed. Ofrendas are not to be sad or bring depression when you look upon it and see your departed. Ofrendas are set up to remember and honor the memory of our ancestors. I want to look at my grandma daily and be happy and see her favorite things and remember her in the best way!
You can also make a little Ofrenda with a little cardboard box, maybe a shoe box, cereal box or maybe any box/crate you are not using. Start adding your items inside. It does not have to fill an entire table. Make a mini size Ofrenda.
If you make one, Instagram it & tag @princessmousey. I would love to see it!
Enjoy your National Hispanic Heritage Month &
Lots of love,
Don’t forget to share this post! I would appreciate it!