How To Make a Marigold Garland for Dia De Los Muertos
We started celebrating Dia De Los Muertos three years ago, right after my father passed away. I was processing my grief while trying to plan Halloween costumes and felt like I need to anchor myself in reverence, lest I be taken over by the silly holidays.
We put up our first offrenda and simply cut marigold flower tops off their stems, placing them around my father’s photo. It added such a fresh and pretty touch to the house.
The next year, we were in a different house and I added more pictures of more loved ones who have passed, with the laying-the-flowers-around method.
This year, we went for the garland! These are stunning, I must say.
How to make a marigold gardland for Dia De Los Muertos:
- Gather at least three dozen marigolds – the larger the better. African Marigolds are what I’ve used.
- Cut all the flower heads off, leaving a small bit of green stem in place
- Use scissors to pre-cut a hole through your flower stem base up into the center of the flower
- Use a thin piece of cord or thick string and large needle to string the flowers onto the cord.
- Leave about an inch on each end to tie off, or create a loop for hanging.
- Large Needle
- Three dozen marigolds
As Dia De Los Muertos becomes more widely celebrated, marigolds in October are easier and easier to find. I purchased my orange marigolds at a local Mexican market, but you can buy these online, or grow them. Even Trader Joe’s sells them some years. The key is to get the larger blooms, which hold up well to the cutting and stringing.
I also didn’t have a large needle so used some weird sewing instrument to do mine, and the flowers held up so well. I am definitely a “use what’s on hand” person, as you know.
As for the flowers, the marigolds will dry out and shrink. You can mist them if you want them to stay perky longer, but it’s all a part of the process.
You can also consider making paper garlands which I LOVE and may do as the kids get older. HERE is a cute tutorial to do that.
Speaking of kids, this holiday is a great one for bringing kids into the conversation about ancestors, traditions, and honoring the past. I love hearing my kids talk about my dad if they dream of anyone who has passed away (they have!), and allowing them to ask all the questions. It reminds us that life is indeed fleeting and can be fragile, much like a flower.
The celebration of Dia De Los Muertos is November 1-2, 2021, so we have about a week to honor our families and prep the offerings.
For more garland ideas, check out my citrus garland DIY here.