When The Calaca Comes A Knockin’

When The Calaca Comes A Knockin’

It’s almost that time again for papel picado, pan de muerto and most importantly remembering our loved ones during Día de los Muertos on November 1 & 2. Did you make an altar for a loved one? What do you miss the most about that person?

Growing up I had never heard of Dia de los Muertos from my parents. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I discovered this wonderful Mexican holiday. I always enjoy eating pan de muerto, buying sugar skulls and going to check out the alters at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s annual Day of the Dead exhibit. My mom Adela would always say, “Ya estoy para la tumba” and I would roll my eyes and shake my head.

When I would go to the Día de los Muertos exhibit I would always look at the altars people made for their loved ones. There would be sepia pictures, baseballs, aprons sometimes toys and tequila. All of their favorite things gathered and put together with loving care. You could always tell that friends and family missed their departed loved ones greatly.

Thank goodness, I never had to make an altar. I couldn’t even begin to imagine losing someone I loved. Well that all changed in the summer of 2006 when the Calaca came knocking and my mom passed away. When the fall came Día de los Muertos took on a whole new meaning. It was difficult for me to go to any Día de los Muertos events. I had never made an altar for anyone but that year I made a little alter for her in my kitchen.

Since then my mom has been included twice in the Día de los Muertos exhibit in altars done by Artist Luis DeLaTorre and this year in the Stitch y Bitch altar. Looks like she’s on the move without me. Before she passed My mom took it upon herself to write little notes and hide them in different places.

Funny they always appear at odd moments in my life. Once I had a cold and found a note by her that said to drink tea for my cough then there was the time I happened to open this little trinket box with little birds on it and inside it said “Adela is here.” Yeah, that one was weird  but she was always full of surprises.

Adela Pando

This Día de los Muertos I wanted to dedicate this post as a virtual altar to my mom Adela. I miss her lots!

Here is a few things I remember and miss the most about her:

  • Her audacity to move to this country in the 70’s without speaking English
  • Enjoyed looking into those mischievious flickering eyes of hers.
  • Eating chiles rellenos while watching the novella together
  • Listening to stories of her growing up in Mexico City
  • Watching her put make up on; the blue eyeliner made her look pretty
  • She could always make me laugh even when I was down
  • Summer time when she would give me money to buy hot dogs
  • Winter days she’d wake up early to make us buñuelos
  • Going to la segunda on Halsted with her because she would buy me a bag of those mix and match toys that came in the clear plastic bags.

Well I always get a little misty eyed but time to shake it off after all it’s Día de los Muertos time of celebration and remembering.  What I’ve learned from this experience is when the Calaca comes knocking you have no choice but to answer and despite this  our loved ones who have passed on are always with us even when it’s not Día de los Muertos. What do you miss about your loved ones?

Here are a few fun ideas for  Día de los Muertos that you might enjoy!

Día de los Muertos Parade – Sounds like fun! Swing by!

Día de los Muertos Audio Ofrendas – Can’t wait to listen to them!

Día de los Muertos Apron – This calavera apron give away is awesome!

Día de los Muertos Dance – Put your calaca dancing shoes on and let’s dance!

Día de los Muertos Alter – Not sure how to put one together? Here how to create your own alter.

Content Copyright Proyecto Latina 2010

5 Responses to “When The Calaca Comes A Knockin’”

  1. Diana says:

    I miss her too! but I take consolation knowing she’s always on the move.

  2. DLT says:

    I miss her too! but I take consolation knowing she’s always on the move.

  3. Diana, I love this reflection and virtual ofrenda. Thanks for sharing.

  4. La PiXie says:

    You had a cool mami =) …and isnt the little alter to her comforting?=)

  5. Thank you for sharing this wonderful ofrenda of your mom. It’s amazing how we miss the everyday, not necessarily the big moments. Makes us take notice of the little things, gestures, gifts people have. I love my moms smile, my dads walk, my grandmother’s ability to put everyone in their place with a few choise words. Also makes me think of the things I hope people will remember me by. Thank you and may your mom continue to inspire you.

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