Posts Tagged ‘skeletons’

Day of the Dead Altars (Ofrendas)

Day of the Dead Altars (Ofrendas)

altarsDay of the Dead Altars


Day of the Dead is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd. The celebrations include festivals, visit to grave sites, and preparing the altars or Ofrendas for lost loved ones. Ofrendas can be set up near graves or where the loved one actually died. They are also set up in the home where people believe the spirits will visit.

In Morelos, Mexico the altar is set up in a bedroom with chairs or a bed for the dead to rest on. The living then sleep on the front porch. This is not done out of fear but they want to make the dead comfortable. The altars filled with flowers, candles and much more. Below is a list of the items you would find.

Day of the Dead Altars

Candles… for each dead family member. Lighting the way the for the spirits.

GetFileAttachment-5 copyBeeswax Candles

Skulls made of wood or sugar…..sometimes marked with the names of the dead family member.

tree of life


Soap and Small towels….for the dead to wash


Water Jug…for drinking


Salt….a symbol of life




Bread…Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead) is a sweet egg bread and is flavored with cinnamon and anise seed (tastes like black licorice). The bread is then glazed with honey or sprinkled with red or pink sugar. The bread will sometimes be shaped like people or animals.

pan de muertoPan de Muerto

Flowers…Marigolds (going back to the Aztecs) are used because they are the symbol of the harvest and they are also know as the flower of the dead. Their bright color and strong smell reminded the Aztecs of the sun. You can see the petals scattered from the graves to the home, like a path for the spirits to follow. These bright flowers are colorful enough for the spirits to see after living in so much darkness.


Marigold-Marigolds….flowers of the Dead



Pictures of the loved ones that have past


Small toys or miscellaneous items the loved ones enjoyed


Coast Hwy Traders

530 S Coast Hwy 101

Encinitas Ca










La Catrina and Icon of the Day of the Dead

Posada2.CatrinaLa Calaveras Catrina by Jose Guadalupe Posada

Jose Guadalupe Posada created the lovely and timeless La Calaveras Catrina (The Catrina Skull) or just La Catrina. Posada was a Mexican revolutionary graphic artist in the late 19th-20th centuries. La Catrina has the European style ornate hat that was popular among the upper classes in the late 19th century. Many of the indigenous women of the time were so influenced by the European styles they started not wearing their traditional clothes and even wore makeup to make their skin look lighter. La Catrina was Posadas reminder to all that regardless of class or stature death equalizes everyone in the end.


katrinas chtLa Catrinas made of paper mache at Coast Hwy Traders


The La Catrina is made from all kinds of materials including clay, wood, and paper mache (cartoneria). She is a prominent figure in Day of the Dead celebrations. She is featured in Day of the Dead altars, decorations, including large paper mache skeletons imitating the living.

Posada’s La Catrina has become the image of Death in Mexico and icon of the Day of the Dead celebrations.

ss pic skeletonsLa Catrina Statue

katrinas cht 2

weddingWedding Day La Catrina

holiday catrinaThe Coast Hwy Traders Mascot…La Catrina


La Catrinas at Coast Hwy Traders

table at coast



Coast Hwy Traders

530 S Coast Hwy 101

Encinitas Ca


Cacao Mexican Chocolate

Cacao Mexican Chocolate


 For 5000 years the Cacao bean has been in Mexico including cultures along the Yucatan like the Mayans.

A Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico by Cortes tells that when Montezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs, dined, he took no other beverage than chocolate flavored with vanilla or other spices. His chocolate was whipped into a froth that dissolved in the mouth. No fewer than 60 portions each day reportedly may have been consumed by Moctezuma II.



Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spanish and it became a popular beverage by the mid-17th century. They didn’t use sugar in the recipe until the Europeans added it hundreds of years later.

Nowadays, Mexicans enjoy their hot cocoa as a nightly treat with sweetbreads (pan dulce) and during the Day of the Dead celebrations you can find all manner of Mexican chocolate in the shape of skeletons and skulls.






Coast Hwy Traders

530 S Coast Hwy 101

Encinitas Ca


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Dia de los Muertos at Coast Hwy Traders

cht traders window

Dia de Las Muertos will be here before we know it (November 1 st and 2nd). At Coast Hwy Traders we have created our famous Day of the Dead window. I like to have time to enjoy it. We will be posting much more about this holiday. Today I wanted to talk about how much wonderful merchandise we have at the store made by Mexican and American artists. Everyone is on the bandwagon now with Day of the Dead merchandise all made in China, like Ross,Cost Plus, Michael’s even Costco. I  have been told that China sends people to Mexico to buy handmade merchandise to then copy and mass produce. I encourage you not to buy these items ! Buy the real thing!…at Coast Hwy Traders…



day of the dead blog



Coast Hwy Traders

530 S Coast Hwy 101

Encinitas Ca


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How to make Nichos

Nichos are basically shelves with sides that you put items in. Originally they were used in the Catholic church to put religious statues in. We have many niches at Coast Hwy Traders. The first two pictures are niches I made. Cigar boxes make good niches too! Just paint the box or shelf like I did. Put decorative paper  for the background then place and glue items on the surface. Be a bit whimsical or satirical. Notice in the one box I put an ashtray surrounded by two skulls. We have had Nicho workshops at Coast Hwy Traders and if enough people want one, I am happy to do another workshop.

Coast Hwy Traders has little miniature skeletons, cats and dogs to help create your Nicho. Lotteria games are also great to cut up for background pics in your Nicho. Did you also know we have a craft section too!!




11169596_10152943886669107_2523734893199599093_oNichos made by Bev

bev nicho 2

bev nicho



Nicho you can purchase at Coast Hwy Traders

nicho blog



Coast Hwy Traders

530 S Coast Hwy 101

Encinitas Ca


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Day of the Dead Market at Coast Hwy Traders

Day of the Dead market at Coast Hwy Traders

Saturday October 26th 2013

From 10am to 3pm

click here for directions to the store.


mando artwork

We will have two very talented local artists.

Mando Padilla is a colorful artist who’s passion for Dia de Los Muertos is reflected in his paintings.

“I love what Dia De Los Muertos symbolizes. These symbols sustain longevity through the artists

that honor the holiday”…Mando

wag the handbag

“The colorful art from Mexico is part of my art’s DNA.”

 Mando Padilla lives in Escondido California with his wife and two sons. whom he sites as

his biggest inspiration. His first successful art exhibit was held at the Escondido Arts Municipal Gallery

for the month of July 2013. The event was organized by his wife with help from family and friends.




Influences include Clive Barker (both as a writer and an artist),

H.R. Giger, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring & Stanley Kubrick .



His Thoughts on Dia De Los Muertos.

“To me, every day is Dia De Los Muertos. When we remember a loved one who passed away,

that is their day.  In a way, Birthday parties are like Dia De Los Muertos celebrations

because you get showered with gifts and surround yourself with your favorite things.

Loved ones enjoy them “with” you. “…Mando




We will also have a very talented jewelry artist.

ChulaMaiz Jewelry


chula maiz earrings

Her jewelry is inspired by the colors of nature, culture, and life.

ChulaMaiz  is a play on words, the name ChulaMaiz was created from playing with the catchy name of a

Mexican corn snack, churritos, named Churrumais and combining two words that identify the collection.

chula 1

Chula meaning charming, cute and beautiful and Maiz, corn, as a symbol representing

culture and roots. The words together create a line of jewelry and accessories

that are unique, bold and fun

Mexican Altars are used as a way to remember or honor a family member or loved one, a special saint, or a special time or remembrance. Altars have been apart of the Mexican culture since Cortez and his Spanish troops came to Mexico. The altars can be made from wood, paper or an old cigar box. They are colorful, inspirational, religious, or just plain fun.


photo trak #147875

Day of the Dead Altar


Altars play a huge part in the Day of the Dead celebrations. Beautiful altars are constructed to honor and welcome the spirits of the loved ones who have passed away. They are filled with brightly colored marigolds which are said to attract the spirits. Tons of food, sweets, and drinks are also laid out on the altars. The altars are filled with incense, candles, and mementos.  All these altars are true works of art!

At Coast Hwy Traders we are offering a Mexican Altar workshop.

We will show you how to make your very own altar for Day of the Dead.



The Altar Workshop will be on….


Sunday, October 13th from 11am until 3pm

at Coast Hwy Traders

Fee $7.00


shadow box

Coast Hwy Traders will supply you the altar and some fun supplies. Just bring pictures and goodies to use on your altar. Of course we will have items for your altar for sale in the store. Helping you and also making altars will be owner Bev Goodman,our own Rosey Daley and local artist Donna Butnik.


To Sign up e-mail Bev at




Coast Hwy Traders is the best Day of the Dead

(Dia de los Muertos) store in the San Diego area!!!


Why do we say this……????

Coast Hwy Traders takes pride in the fact that the owner travels far into Mexico to find the most unique Dia de los Muertos merchandise. We bring Mexico’s beautiful culture, artistry, art, and traditions to you.


 Our wide range of Day of the Dead merchandise includes traditional figurines, crafts, novelty items and much more.

Our large selection of skulls (Calavera’s) and skeleton figures (Calacas) in all styles, people and occupations is the most authentic and traditional you will find in San Diego County.


Our Calacas or skeleton figures include Elvis, surfers, office professionals, bride and groom, nativity scenes, mermaids, the Beatles, pirates and much more. Coast Hwy Traders Dia de Los Muertos skeletons range from small to large sizes and ceramic to paper mache.


Dia de Los Muertos merchandise also includes:

Day of the Dead calendars

Day of the Dead paper dolls and coloring books

Dia de Los Muertos shadow boxes

Day of the Dead bags and purses

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull molds and ingredients

For over 15 years we have been committed to carrying the most unique quality Mexican Folk art and traditional Day of the Dead merchandise. Let Coast Hwy Traders be your one and only store  for Day of the Dead Merchandise in San Diego County