Families often come together over this period and preparations can be made during the entire year leading up to the Day of the Dead. This is a solemn occasion, with few actual festivities. Instead, people visit and repair graves of their dearly departed. It is common to light candles, leave offerings of prepared foods, often a favorite meal, and to pray and play music. Private altars are built as focal points for small, private religious observances. Small parties, or wakes, can be held in conjunction with the holidays. Celebrations can sometimes take a humorous tone, particularly if the deceased relative was known to enjoy humor. Poems can be read, and public morality plays are sometimes performed.
The skull is a common symbol of the holiday, and it is common for women to paint all or one-half of their face with a skull. The half-skull painted on the face, particularly of a youthful woman, represents the brief transition between life and death.
Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is an occasion to pray for these departed people in purgatory.
Prepare this aromatherapy blend as a blessing to the departed in your private alter.
- 4 drops Cypress essential oil
- 4 drops Rosemary essential oil
- 3 drops Sweet Marjoram essential oil
- 2 drops Sandalwood essential oil
- 1 drop Neroli essential oil
- fill diffuser with water (follow manufacturer instructions)
- drop essential oils above into diffuser bed with water
- turn on diffuser and smell the alter blend