Decorating an Ofrenda Instead of My Baby Shower | Día de los Muertos 2018



November is the month that I was going to have my baby shower for Onyx. We had begun some pre-planning in July and I was so excited. But, as you all know, I ended up losing Onyx in August. 

So now that November is here, I've had a range of emotions about what could have been. Instead of planning a baby shower I've been planning an ofrenda for Día de los Muertos. 

For those who don't know, October 31st - November 2nd celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The movie Coco definitely made Dia de los Muertos become more well-known by communities who don't celebrate it, but it's widely celebrated in Latin America dating pre-colonization.


The first ofrenda we put together, located at my old elementary school 

Ofrendas (meaning "offerings" in Spanish) are an important part of the celebrations. An ofrenda is a type of altar meant to honor a loved one who has passed on. I never thought I'd ever be making one for my baby, but here I am. 

This is my first Día de los Muertos celebration since losing Onyx and I decided to put together multiple ofrendas in his honor. Two are being displayed publicly for local celebrations. 


I included two angels to represent the two babies I lost to miscarriage before Onyx.

The first ofrenda is at my old elementary school. For some reason, I hadn't thought about how being at my old school might be triggering but when I got there, it kind of was. I kept thinking about how amazing it would have been for Onyx to have gone to the same school that I did and how he would be building an ofrenda for someone else one day but instead, I built one for him. 

We decided to go with a "mini" theme for the first ofrenda. It's a more simple design that my sister and I put together and we really like how it turned out. Since Onyx died I have had a lot of mixed emotions about how I've grieved my two miscarriages before him. I felt a need to include those babies and decided that angels could represent them, so they're included in both ofrendas. 


More photos on Facebook and Instagram @arainbowfromonyx

The second ofrenda is at our local community center. We included two of my grandparents along with Onyx and the two angels. This ofrenda was more traditional than the first one, including all four elements - earth (food), fire (candles), air (
papel picado) and water. 

This handmade bassinet is meant for dolls but I thought it would be perfect for the ofrenda. When I measured it, it turned out to be the same length that Onyx was when he was born. Cue the tears. 

I've never seen an ofrenda for a baby before so I was initially kind of confused about what to put on it - do I put pan (bread) even though he was obviously too young to eat solids? Do I include toys even though he was technically still supposed to be in my belly? I was really overwhelmed and my nights in preparation were spent over-thinking everything. To make matters worse, I tried to Google ideas and nothing came up. Nothing came up because babies aren't supposed to die. I'm supposed to be planning Onyx's baby shower, not his ofrenda. 



The second ofrenda includes Onyx's first photo (one of his early ultrasounds) and his last photo (after he was born). 

Building an ofrenda was both heartbreaking and healing. I'm really proud to be apart of a culture that doesn't treat death as taboo but I wish I didn't have to make Día de los Muertos about my babies. 






1 Comments

  1. Quite an interesting post! I haven’t seen a decoration like this ever before and I must share this with my sister who is a budding event planner. She planned my birthday this year and picked up a beautiful event space Chicago for the day. I know she has the capabilities to rise and shine.

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