7 Items That Will Bring a Special Touch to Your Día de Los Muertos Celebration
Honor loved ones with pieces from these Mexican American, Chicano/a and Latinx-owned shops.
Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican celebration remembering and honoring loved ones who have died, that takes place on November 1 and 2. Rooted deeply in the Indigenous traditions of Pre-Columbian Mexico and influenced by the Catholic Church, traditions vary by region, but many include personal items of the deceased, flowers, candles and food presented on altares, ofrendas and gravesites. On both sides of la frontera (the border), there are festivals filled with community altares, food, and processions in honor of the dead where people dress up. But this ancient tradition is nothing like Halloween — it is a celebration of life where we remember our loved ones, and a reminder of just how precious everyday lived is.
Josefina Sanchez Romero...presente! Every year when the weather begins to cool and the days begin to shorten, I remember my abuela. In the weeks leading up to Dia de Los Muertos, I begin preparing the altar, the ofrenda, that will honor and celebrate my loved ones passed. I collect photographs of those who are no longer with us, along with their favorite items, and I start my shopping list of ingredients I will need to make their favorite dishes. Each year, I add something new to the altar, something special. The pandemic has changed how I shop for my special items, but thanks to these Mexican American, Chicano/a and Latinx vendors, you can get all of your Dia de Los Muertos items shipped directly to your home. Here are some of my favorites.
No Dia de Los Muertos altar is complete without sugar skulls! Each calavera represents a loved one who has passed. Sweet Chela’s is a Latina-owned and family operated bakery in San Antonio, TX that specializes in "art you can eat." Sweet Chela’s also offers shippable Día de Los Muertos cookies, along with a Día de Los Muertos at-home decorating kit where you can decorate your own Day of the Dead sugar cookies if you can’t make it to the bakery.
Dia de Los Muertos is all about familia. Families gather around the altar and drink Chocolate Mexicano while reminiscing about loved ones passed. Based in the Southside of San Antonio, Chicana-owned Very That has a variety of mugs, tile coasters and more to help get you ready for the celebration!
Get ready for your Dia de Los Muertos celebration with these Sugar Skull Nail Covers by Cha Cha Covers. Created by Ana Guajardo, Cha Cha Covers is a Latina-owned line of culturally inspired nail decals founded in 2012 that aims to create what was missing from nail wraps in the market: themes related to her culture and heritage, as well as the pop culture icons that she grew up loving.
These marigold garlands are great for home altares and ofrendas. Artelexia is a Latina-owned business that has a special Dia de Los Muertos shop online, where you can find all kinds of amazing things for your altar. Through community events, creative workshops, fundraising and nurturing up-and-coming artists, owner Alexia De La Parra enjoys sharing the festive and colorful customs of her culture.
If you are starting your Dia de Los Muertos altar as a new tradition, then this Altar Box is perfect for you. It has everything you need to start your own home altar or ofrenda. Lorenza’s Imports is a Latina-run family-owned business that was founded in 1993 by Maria Lorenza. She began her business with a small stall inside the Farmers Market Plaza Building at Market Square in downtown San Antonio. Lorenza’s specializes in fine Talavera, folk art and other Mexican imports. Every item is handpicked by Lorenza to ensure the shop brings you the most beautiful, unique and masterfully crafted items from Mexico.