My altar is complete! I am very please with how it all came together. It is believed that during the Day of the Dead, it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. The altar containing photos, memorabilia, favorite food is intended to encourage visits by the souls so they will hear the prayers and comments of the living directed to them. It is meant to be a celebration of the departed, a day of joyous remembrance, not of sadness. I sure did feel like I was celebrating them as I was putting it all together. I am glad to be able to honor, my mom and dad Rita and Bill Kemp, pictured in their wedding photo. My sons father and my first husband, Clark Adams pictured by himself on the right of the altar. And my birth parents Joan and James Bjorklund, pictured in the little double frame. I added many of my parents favorite things. One of my dads golf clubs, a golf ball and tee. His old eye glasses. And a glass that he used to drink from full of water, part of the altar tradition. My mom's old ashtray, much of her jewelry, a spool of thread from her sewing and some of her ceramics. She was an amazing ceramic artist. The little pig pitcher she made when I was very small, I drank from it, kind of like one of the first sippy cups. Also I added my little baby bracelet that the hospital put on me when I was born, it is on top of the photo of Joan and James. Traditionally you offer favorite foods or candy, I have hard candies because my dad loved to have hard candy around. Items like the paper flags, the paper marigolds I made, marigolds known as flor de muerto (flower of the dead) and are used to adorn the altar, and bread, fruit, scented candles are all traditional items. The smell of the candle is supposed to guide the spirits home to their loved ones. I also added a bride and groom catrina (skeletons), a sacred flaming heart and a skull plus some other things. Oh and of course my art! It was an interesting experience, brought back many happy memories. I am happy to be able to participate in it! Be well. Tj.