The Day of the Dead is my birthday. When I was a child at Catholic School, the nuns would tell it was called the Feast of Poor Souls. I was then signified as a Poor Soul caught in purgatory until my sins were worked off. It was when I discovered that El Dia de Los Muertos was instead celebrated as sending your angel or loved one to heaven following the path of the rocket you send to the sky. They would cross the many marigolds left on the entrance knowing that the party was set for them. On the altar was all of their favorite things. Your angel would come to your party at home to taste the food (candy) put on the ofrenda (altar) for them to taste and give them sustenance. When the children were permitted to taste the things on the altar, if they tasted sweet like candy, you would know your angel had visited and stole all the taste of the savory food.


On the day of the dead, you must never cry because it is said your angel will slip and fall on your tears. Instead, all celebrate the angel with singing and eating. In the morning, the family goes to the cemetery to decorate the graves with flowers, repainting and of course, drinking.


For a celebration at Pirate Gallery in Denver, I created an altar and made these images as photograms of xeroxes and objects with contact printed images.


Following the installation are images from the cemeteries near San Miguel, Mexico


el dia de lost muertos                                               all contents © barbara houghton 2022