Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day of the Dead Tablescape

"Our dead are never dead to us,
until we have forgotten them." 
- George Eliot 

This Tablescape Thursday is dedicated to my husband's grandmother. The theme for this tablescape is El Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated from October 31st through November 2nd. Participants spend the holiday praying for and remembering their loved ones who have passed away.

I created a simple ofrenda on the buffet in honor of my husband's grandmother. Candles are lit to light the way for the spirits' return. Traditionally, yellow-orange marigolds are used because it is believed that their fragrance helps lead the spirits back to the ofrenda. 

I poured cool water into a crystal glass that once belonged to her. I placed my rose petal bracelet around the stem. This bracelet was constructed from roses used at her memorial service. Water is offered for the spirit's refreshment after a long journey from the Other Side. Salt symbolizes the continuance of life, since it is a preservative.

A photograph of the loved one is placed on the ofrenda. I placed her photograph in a beautiful silver butterfly frame. It is a fitting frame since she loved butterflies. Also, the Aztecs connected the return of the monarch butterfly to the returning of their loved ones' souls.

Religious emblems, such as crosses and Bibles, are also placed on the ofrenda along with flowers and candles.

Back to the table setting, I printed sugar skulls from a free online coloring book website onto brightly colored card stock paper. I then cut the skulls out and placed them in-between silver chargers and clear glass dinner plates. I layered "spooky fabric" on top of a lace table cloth for a spooky - yet festive - touch.

I picked up these yellow cotton napkins at a local thrift store. They were made in Spain. Yellow is symbolic of the sun, which gives life. I also picked up a set of these rose-carved Lucite napkin rings at another local thrift store. The napkins and napkin rings are the perfect touch to this table.

I gathered my crystal candle holders and placed them down the center of the table, along with two silver bud vases filled with bright pink roses, purple mums, and daylily grass. I placed pink, red, and shiny green tapers in the candle holders. The bright colors are lively, representing life.

I placed a few skeletons down the center of the table, propped against the candle holders. Skulls and skeletons are symbolic of death and the afterlife. This photo captures the symbols of death and life - the bright yellow napkin and the decorative skeleton.

I picked up these small purple frames at Micheal's in their dollar bin a few years ago. I used these as colorful place-card holders, using brightly colored card stock paper. I also scattered real rose petals down the center of the table to match the ofrenda (buffet).

On the menu is my husband's grandmother's banana bread, Mexican hot chocolate, candied pumpkin, drunken beans, and tomatillo chicken. We will enjoy a great dinner while remembering our loved one. El Día de Muertos is a holiday celebrating past lives as we remember to live our current lives to the fullest. That's my kind of holiday!

We are linking up at Between Naps on The Porch's Tablescape Thursdays


  1. What a wonderful tradition. Beautiful table!

    1. This was our first year celebrating Day of the Dead. We greatly enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!