This video belongs to Yvette Marquez-Sharonack, an on-camera host, a home chef, an Emmy-winning producer and writer, award-winning food blogger, and author of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor. Permission granted for use.
1. First, set up a table with three different levels. The levels will represent the underworld, the Earth, and heaven. You can set them up by placing a big, upside down cardboard box on top of a table. The floor will be the first level, the table the second, and the box the third. Cover the table and the box with two tablecloths — one dark color to symbolize mourning, and a lacy white one, to repr
2. Next, set up a representation of graveyard in the lower level. Take a bunch of ash and scatter it in the ground to make a cross. You can use a material that symbolizes ash if you don’t have it. The cross shape represents a grave; the ash is a reminder that we are "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Next, scatter a bunch of cempasuchil petals on the floor. These are the "flowers of the thousand peta
3. Now set up food and otherworldly offerings in the middle level. The middle level represents the realm of the living, so prepare a full feast with the bounty of the Earth! First of all, place a big glass of water on the table. The dead are going to be thirsty after climbing the millions of miles that separate them from the Earth. Then make the dead person's favorite food. It doesn't have to be M
4. Next, set up a representation of heaven in the higher level. At the top of the altar, you can place symbolisms that represent heaven, perhaps a cross or a saint statue. Set up a big bowl of Mexican incense, or copal. Add a big bunch of orange marigolds and a few more candles.
5. Finally, place a photograph of someone you love in the center of the altar. This is so that the dead person you love knows = they are invited. You can place more than one picture — and they don't have to be people you knew personally. Feel free to remember your favorite writer, singer, or historical figure.