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Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is a ritual celebrated in Mexico and parts of the United States that goes back thousands of years. It began as an Aztec celebration originally held in August. Instead of fearing death, this culture embraced it and considered it a "moving-on" to a higher level of consciousness. Today's Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muerto coincides with the Christian All Souls and All Saints Days. On November 1st and 2nd, people remember the deceased with celebrations, creating alters with photos and loved ones favorite food and drinks, and candles to light their way home.

Create your own altar using Cut-it-Out papel picado products. Invite your friends and relatives to visit using hand made calavera note cards. Start with a hand punched table cloth or layer several tissue banners, with Day of the Dead images punched into them, over a table. Calavera doilies and shelf liners with skull motifs can be placed underneath foods and articles associated with your loved one. Tiny cut tissue bandarillas (little flags) can be draped across a wall or nicho behind the altar for an added decorative touch. Place votive candles inside calavera luminarias. These have skulls punched into the little bags. The luminarias can be set all around or on top of the altar. These cast mysterious shadow effects across the walls and floor for added atmosphere. Add copal incense and punche de muertos and you have an authentic installation and a celebration. Viva!

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Go all out for your Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos celebration by ordering a custom calavera portrait of someone special or controversial. Among the numerous calaveras created by Trenchard are her self portrait dancing the tango with La Catrina and the Victorian calavera invented and popularized by Jose Guadalupe Posada.

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All images © Kathleen Trenchard, Cut-it-Out. All rights reserved.