Happy Dia De Los Muertos!
I had the most interesting conversation with a lady in the Mission today. I didn't know this, but there are seven items that need to be present on an altar for the ancestors on the Day of the Dead.
4. Something to eat
7. Flowers (Marigolds)
Isn't that beautiful??? It's all for the dead to feel welcomed and Honored. The marigolds are welcoming and draw them to your space, and also represent the briefness of life. They can enjoy the essence of any food you leave for them and use the salt to spice it up.
It's to honor them, to let them know we are thinking of them, and to thank them for their presence in our lives.
The altars in Mexico, and here in San Francisco, can be HUGE. They can include toys, wine, specific foods and music instruments that the Beloved enjoyed the most.
What I like about it, is that it celebrates death as a joyous part of life. These are displays of love that let the deceased know they will never be forgotten.