Tag Archives: Day of the Dead

2023 Dia de los Muertes Art Festival

Last Saturday afternoon I ventured to downtown Tulsa to Living Arts Tulsa which was putting on their annual Dia de los Muertos Art Festival. I missed all the performances that happened the night before but they still had the altars to loved ones that community members built.

Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. Is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of loved ones for a few days of visiting and feasting. It is usually celebrated October 31 to November 2.

As part of the holiday altars (or ofrendas) are built to honor family members. There are conventions for the altars (check here) but it seems more and more the ofrendas are departing from the “rules” and the emphasis is showing the departed, their interests and passions.

One sees lots of marigolds in these ofrendas. Some believe that orange is the only color that departed souls can see. Many ofrendas create a path of marigold flowers from the floor to the altar and then to the top of the altar. Those are to help guide souls to the altar and then on to heaven.

The brightly colored tissue paper with patterns cut into it is known as Papel Picado. It symbolizes the union between life and death.

Sometimes favorite clothing and beverages are on display.

You see lots of pastries and candles.

Photographs, favorite drinks are displayed as well.

Somebody constructed an ofrenda in honor of the recently deceased singer Jimmy Buffett. A guitar, music, and sandals were some of the objects on display.

I didn’t build an ofrenda but I did use a snapchat filter to celebrate.

I really enjoyed the whole show.

I am linking with My Corner of the World

2022 Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival at Living Arts Tulsa


Living Arts hosts normally hosts at Dia de los Muertos Arts Festival during or close to the holiday of November 1 and 2. Of course, nothing since 2020 has been normal. This year I wasn’t able to attend the festival which includes art and performances and food because of the weather but I did make it to the gallery to see the Ofrendas or altars to the dead.


I love the ofrendas. They are made to honor the dead. They have a lot of symbolism in terms of the colors and decorations used. Here is a great article about the symbolism. Many of the altars adhere to the pattern others do not so much.


I look at them as stories of a person’s life as told by the loved ones. Religious faith, professions, hobbies, loved ones, favorite foods, sports teams, and other facets of a person’s life is displayed. Obviously almost all of these people were much loved when they were alive.


So I try to never miss these. They are wonderful works of art with meaning.


This ofrenda was finished off by sand on the floor below with a beach scene. That could be mine, or a small trail in the woods.


Some ofrendas were communal such as this one offered up students at a local school or who made painted rocks in memory of a loved one of theirs that they had lost.


Dallas Cowboys merchandise was displayed on three of the altars. If somebody makes me an altar, they could add that.


Outside, there are murals in honor of deceased people.

RIP Frida Kahlo, what an amazing artist.

Have you thought about an altar for somebody. I have. I think it would be interesting and emotional coming up with a design and gathering the various elements and then putting it together. I think it is good to remember people. I am not one who wants to get rid of reminders of people. Yes, sure that can be sad, but what about all the happy memories?

I am linking with My Corner of the World. Go check it out.

Day of the Dead – 2018

Skulls and skeletons are significant symbols of both the dead and the living. Underneath we are all skeletons.

Heather and I ventured to Living Arts of Tulsa Friday evening for their Day of the Dead event.


National Geographic has some information  on the Day of the Dead. First off it is not a Mexican version of Halloween. 

I loved this Star Trek themed Day of the Dead mural.

They claim that it originated thousands of years ago when the Aztecs and other ancient cultures. They believed that death was on the same continuum as life and that their ancestors should be honored.  

This mural is for those of us who love our pets. They just do not live very long. 

Over time the ancient traditions merged with Christian beliefs and now the Day of the Dead occurs November 1 and 2, All Souls Day and All Saints Day. 


A big part of the Day are the ofrenda’s or altars to the dead that can be installed in homes or graveyards. 


They are meant to honor the dead and make them part of the holiday. Photos and other rembrances are displayed and favorite food and drink is offered. 


The Ofrendas at Living Arts are for real. They are built by people for their loved ones. 


They are really powerful and they speak to me of the power of family, love, tradition, remembrance and mourning. 

I am linking with  Our World Tuesday

Dia De Muertes (Day of the Dead) at Tulsa’s Living Arts


November 1st I got a kitchen pass from Heather and headed out to Living Arts in the Brady District to check out their Day of the Dead celebration. I first went two years ago and I thought it was wonderful.  Dia De Muertos (Dia De Los Muertos is a back translation from English I read) is a day where people in Mexico honor and remember their relatives and close friends who have died.


Often the dead are remembered via Ofrendas (Offerings) which are altars built to honor the dead person. It may have photographs of the deceased or possessions and often contain favorite foods or beverages and if it is a child, a toy. Living Arts in their “Altared Spaces” Exhbit displayed Ofrendas made by people for their loved ones. In fact they solicit the public to put up Ofrendas.


Some were for people who had a long life and many children and grand children.


And others were for people who passed away way too young.


They were all works of art.


The Ofrenda above is for those people who died while trying to cross the border.


I love the concept of honoring lost ones with an Ofrenda.


Living Arts also had murals painted just for the event. I love them for their humorous macabre riff.


Dancing skeletons


Here is one in honor of dogs. Our dogs just don’t live long enough if you ask me.


The murals are beautiful. Even the ones with gas meters in front of them.


There was dance also. Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca of Tulsa put on a great performance of folk dances.


The costumes were colorful


And the dancers were lively


It was beautiful and I had a front row seat for some reason.




And there was all sorts of other things going on. Food vendors, crafts, other performers. You can bet that I’ll be back next year!

Our World – Dia De Los Muertos

Saturday was a busy, busy day for the family. Heather went with her Mother to western Oklahoma to visit family. Logan has a lot of stuff going on and so he and I stayed home. So I took him to his horseback riding class, then to his Improv comedy workshop, and then to his rehearsal (Have I told you that he auditioned for and got a part in a Christmas play coming up.)

Anyways while he was at rehearsal I ventured to the Brady District north of downtown and took in the Day of the Dead celebration at Living Arts of Tulsa. I had always wanted to go and now I had my chance.


The first thing I saw were the murals. For something celebrating the dead they sure are alive. I love the big bright colors. The holiday is known as Dia De Los Muertos and originates in Mexico.


They are macabre in a friendly kind of way.


I really don’t get the symbolism.


This is my favorite.


There were two stages and lots of performances.  I saw  Ballet Folklorico Tonatiuh performing some amazing dances.

The video is only 12 seconds long. These young ladies are spectacular. It brought back some great memories of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico which I got to see during a two week stay in Mexico City when I was in high school.


As good as the murals and the performing arts were, the most fascinating thing at the show for me were the Altars or Ofrendas made to departed loved ones. The Day of the Dead is the day that the dead reunite with the living. The altars are set up in honor of the dead, not to worship them. Lots of good information here. The altar above is for Robin Williams.


This one is for the women who were convicted and executed for witchcraft at the Salem witch trials.


This one was set up in honor of dog. Note the treats and personal items and photographs. The candles are to help guide the spirit to the Altar.


Their were altars that were very personal. Note the fresh fruit and snacks which is common. The marigolds are common also.


Note the beverages which were favorites of the departed and the bread, Pan de Muerto. The dead do not eat or drink the beverages. Instead they absorb the aroma and extract the essence of the food or drink.


A suicide support group had put together an altar.

I loved the whole concept of once a year reuniting in spirit with the loved ones. I found the whole thing to be a celebration of life and an affirmation of a belief in the afterlife, rather than a macabre fascination with death.  It got me thinking, I think I might have to specify what I want on my Ofrenda. Pictures of Heather, Logan, and I on the beach would be a must. And my GPS receiver and an ammo box for geocaching, one of my many participant ribbons for my running, a sunrise photograph and one of my cheap film cameras for  photography. . Oh, yeah a Fat Tire Beer, and a Snicker’s Bar.  And a Breaking Bad DVD, along with one of Chinatown (the best movie ever made. I’m not even going to discuss it!) And don’t forget a Metallica CD, or Five Finger Death Punch.  I could go on and on.

What about you, what would your Offrenda have on it?

Our World Tuesday

Foto Friday Fun – Dia de Los Muertos Edition

Day of the Dead Image cropped

This is a mural at Living Arts Space in Tulsa. It is part of the their “Day of the Dead” activities every year. You can read more about Dia De Los Muertos by following the link.

They change the murals ever year and I love them despite the morbid subject matter. You can’t tell the scale of the murals by looking at them but they are huge. Here is one from last year.

#selfie by Logan at #livingarts #mural #art #publicart #downtowntulsa #oklahoma #igersok

I am participating in Gaelyn’s Foto Friday Fun. Go check it out!