Hold your own Day of the Dead event
Whatever your cultural background or faith, you might like the idea of celebrating deceased loved ones as part of the worldwide Day of the Dead festivities. Here are some ideas for honouring the dead.
- Create a shrine in your home; this could simply be a small table or part of a larger table covered with a cloth. Decorate it with candles and flowers (marigolds are traditionally used in Mexico as their vibrant colour and scent are thought to guide the spirits to their altars) and encourage members of the family to add photographs, artefacts and representations of their loved one(s). Spend time at the altar, talking about the deceased and sharing any amusing or enlightening tales you have about them.
- Cook a special meal, including the favourite dishes of the deceased. You might like to lay out place settings for those whose memory you wish to honour. You might also like to try your hand at creating traditional Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) or sugar skull cookies.
- Print off and colour Day of the Dead skulls and use to decorate your home. An internet image search will return dozens of beautiful decorated skull templates, like this one on the right.
- If your loved ones are buried nearby, why not give their graves a spruce up. Clean up the headstone if it's looking shabby, and perhaps leave a small gift or token of your visit, for example, the dead person's favourite sweets. US website the Connecticut Gravestone Network has some useful information on the best ways to clean headstones.
- Hold your own Death Cafe. For those not in the know, a Death Cafe is where people come together to drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. Find out more about this fast growing movement and get advice on running your own Death Cafe at Deathcafe.com.