Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Baba Yaga Soul Day Project

I am making an altered book into a retablo for Frida Kahlo for this project. The original book was an old photo album with a door section on the cover. I have sanded this back a bit and used paint to give it the look of weatherworn shutters and adobe wall.

Inside the doors - I am using images printed from the Net as well as various emphemera. I am planning to decorate the inside of the doors with painted flowers and leaves.

The inside page: I printed these paper dolls off the net ages ago.

The piece of lace on this page is from a dress sleeve - it just has the right flamenco look here. The quote is ``I paint self portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.'

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Some Party Planning Tips

I found this essay on line ( couldn't find the authors name ) and decided to print the parts I thought would be helpful in preparing for Baba's Soul Day (comments in italics are mine). I'm going to work with a planning diary because I do this every year, but I've never written it down. So as we move towards the Day of the Dead I'll share my journey here..

Anita Marie

The Day Of The Dead

The Day of the Dead is one of Mexico's traditional holidays reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors, family, and friends.

Life was seen as a dream. It was believed that only in dying, a human being was truly awake. Death was not a mysterious and fearful presence but a realistic recognizable character as much a part of life as life itself. When Christianity was introduced in the 16th century, religion and its symbols became part of the altars we now find in Mexico today.

Traditionally, it is a time when family members share memorable stories that would commemorate their lives together. Secondly, there are many items that people do to celebrate the Day of the Dead. On November 2, family members clean and perhaps paint the headstones, arrange flowers, and lighting candles.
I also leave a small offering of food and perhaps liquor behind the living room door because I was taught as a child that's where the ghosts. hide I also leave candles in all my windows to make it easy for my departed ancestors to find their way home

Mexican families construct special home altars dedicated to the spirits of their deceased loved ones. The altars range from simple to the very elaborate and are usually filled with objects that provided pleasure to the departed person in life, including favorite food and drink. Altars dedicated to the spirits of deceased children often include toys, candy and other sweets.

Pretty neat, I put this here because its so festive looking.

A start, maybe I'd dedicate an altar like this one to the unique people in my life who are no longer here. I'd go on to put things connected to them and of course I'd add the sweets and food! And as an FYI people have dedicated altars to pets.

The altars or ofrendas as they are called, also usually contain objects made from sugar or sugar sculpture known as alfenique. These objects may be small animals, such as lambs, miniature plates of food (enchiladas with mole), small coffins, often with pop-up skeletons, and of course, the sugar skull or calavera. The skulls are made by pouring a mixture of boiling water, confectioner's sugar and lime into clay molds, which have been previously soaked in water. The calaveras are decorated with paper foil for eyes and a kind of colored icing for hair. Names can be added to the skull and Mexican children often exchange named skulls with their friends.

Ofrendas often include papel picado or Mexican cut-paper.

Papel picado has a long folk tradition in Mexico and the little town of San Salvador Huixcolotla, in the state of Puebla, is known for its fine cut paper. Although papel picado is used as a decoration for many festive occasions such as weddings and baptisms, papel picado with themes relating to Day of the Dead is also very popular. The Mexican papel picado is similar to origami. Although origami is folded, it too has spiritual meaning.

So if you choose to create an altar and use Origami...then go for it, if you want to dedicate one to a beloved pet or lost friends, you should. If you want to be tradtional and remember lost children and relatives then do it with joy and love and from your heart. Remember this is a holiday to reunite with your loved ones, make it a good day for all of you.
Anita Marie

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The guests

A couple of Baba's party animals...

Garden Party

Ah, a lovely garden stroll.
Pity we can't see her face...
but it looks like a hat that Baba would wear.

And what's this?

Armed henchmen? Chicken wire?

Tut-Tut, dear, that doesn't seem a bit friendly!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

All Soul's Day Wedding

I chanced upon this little wedding this afternoon as I strolled the Garden. I didn't dare speak, but held my breath and watched from behind a juniper tree while they pledged their (no pun intended) undying love. Finally, proof positive that love transcends space and time. I felt a warm glow in my heart as they spoke their vows. The guests were all of the undead variety, too. I think I may have spied Kaspar at the little soiree.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Baba's All Soul Day Celebrations

I wondered as I left the House of Baba Yaga if the strange creatures who live here know of Dia de Muertos, The Day of the Dead.

It seems like something she would celebrate....

From mid-October through the first week of November, markets and shops all over Mexico are replete with the special accouterments for the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). These include all manner of skeletons and other macabre toys; intricate tissue paper cut-outs called papel picado; elaborate wreaths and crosses decorated with paper or silk flowers; candles and votive lights; and fresh seasonal flowers, particularly cempazuchiles (marigolds) and barro de obispo (cockscomb). Among the edible goodies offered are skulls, coffins and the like made from sugar, chocolate or amaranth seeds and special baked goods, notably sugary sweet rolls called pan de muerto that come in various sizes invariably topped with bits of dough shaped like bones and, in some regions, unadorned dark breads molded into humanoid figures called animas (souls). All of these goods are destined for the buyer's ofrenda de muertos (offering to the dead).

In most localities November 1 is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2.

Anita Marie

We most certainly celebrate the Day of the Dead here in the realm of Baba Yaga and this year will be one continuous festival right through October up until November 2. It will be totally wicked.
Sibyl Enchanteur