Serendipity, or the accidental discovery of something which you were not in quest of, perfectly describes my October Styling The Seasons display. It all started last weekend when, inspired by the seasonal change that has finally taken hold in my town, I went to the grocers to get some stems of mini pumpkins, and use them as a springboard to style a surface in my home. But much to my surprise, I saw potted marigolds displayed on some hay bales, and was immediately drawn to them. I looked at the tag and it said "Hay mas tiempe que vida", or "There is more time than life."
You may have heard of Dia de los Muertos, or the 'Day Of The Dead'; beginning on October 31st and ending on November 1st, this holiday honors those that have passed on. It originated in Mexico, but is celebrated throughout Latin America, and there are similar celebrations in Europe, Asia, and Africa, all of which take place during autumn. In my own family, we have joined the late summertime festivities of the Buddhist Obon festival, which also honors past ancestors, for almost twenty years now.
Marigolds, or Tagetes erecta, are native to Mexico and Central America and are referred to as the Flower With 400 Lives, or Flower Of The Dead (Flor de Muerto). They are used during The Day Of The Dead as decorations for ofrendas (graves or alters). The adornments also include foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto (a kind of bread), sugar skulls, candles, photographs, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. As well as being decorative, marigolds are thought to attract the souls of the dead to these offerings.
Here in the United States, as in many other countries, All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween, is celebrated on October 31st. Our family has always celebrated this holiday - my kids love to dress up and I enjoy putting up some lights and a few decorations. This year is no different - the lights and decorations have once again found their traditional places in and around our home, but this year, I've also added my own version of an ofrenda. I used Pinterest to create a board of ideas to help me decide how I would like to design my own ofrenda. Building on the idea of honoring the dead, and in addition to my beautiful potted marigolds, I added a vintage footed pedestal bowl that I filled with fruit:
And placed a candle in a vintage 1950s black cast iron Danish candle holder:
An old box of matches is at the ready - I think I'll light my candle tonight:
And because skulls are a large part of both Halloween and Day Of The Dead, I decided to make the banner hanging on the wall behind this display. I simply hand drew a skull shape on white cardstock and cut it out, then used it to trace four more skulls. I had fun pulling out my scrapbooking supplies, hand drawing the faces of the skulls, and decorating each one with flower headdresses:
Here's a close up view of each paper skull:
October has unexpectedly opened up a new experience for me, of being inspired by fall flowers, and developing that inspiration into something special that my family and I can enjoy in our home.
Styling The Seasons is a monthly opportunity to style a surface in your home and share it on your blog and/or on Instagram. If you would like to know about Styling The Seasons, visit Katy Orme's blog Apartment Apothecary or Charlotte's blog Lotts & lots. You can also search for the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on Instagram.
Oh, and if you'd like to see the Dia de Los Muertos Pinterest board I created for this post, click here.
Thanks for reading!