Feature photo by Stu Spivack
Gozamos is celebrating Day of the Dead 21st-century style! Readers are invited to share digital ofrendas, or offerings, to honor the memory of family and friends who are no longer with us. What’s a digital ofrenda? Anything you can email! Here are some ideas:
- Photos: Take a picture of your ofrenda or altar, submit a photo of your loved one, or send a photo of a place your loved one enjoyed visiting.
- Videos: Shoot a short video of your ofrenda and talk about why you chose it and what it means to you. Take a video of your altar, or make a creative video that reminds you of your loved one.
- Audio: Talk about your ofrenda or tell a story about your loved one.
- Twitter: Tweet about your loved one or your ofrenda. Use #ofrenda. Tweets will be posted in the digital altar.
For example, here’s my digital ofrenda. It’s a picture of the altar I made this year.
This is really my first Day of the Dead altar. When I first attempted to make one a few years ago, I had a mental culture clash and created a scary Halloween-esque altar.
Instead of using bright colors, I draped a table with black cloth, dark candles, and dark picture frames. It looked more like I was summoning the dead instead of celebrating them. This time I wanted the altar to shine in bright reds and yellows. I bought an array of mums, marigolds, and sunflowers, and my partner arranged them beautifully in red vases. I took a few flowers and decorated a heart-shaped wreath with them. To honor the ancient origins of the holiday, I added a Mayan cloth and a stone carving of an Aztec god. The pictures of my father and my partner’s adoptive parents are my favorite; they were taken during celebrations, and everyone looks so happy. A CD of Javier Solis is an ofrenda to my father, who used to wake us up every Sunday morning with rancheras. I also included pictures and toys of our deceased pets. The glass of water, bottle of tequila, and candy skull are traditional ofrendas that add a classic Mexican touch to the altar. If you’ve never made an altar, I recommend creating one. Making time to build something special for someone who has passed is a serene and rejuvenating experience. In honoring the dead, you celebrate their life and keep their memory alive, and that is what Day of the Dead is all about.
What’s your ofrenda? Submit it by Wednesday, October 27th to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Gozamos Digital Altar will launch on November 2nd.