relationships

20 Day Of The Dead-Style Engagement Rings That’ll Have You Saying ‘Helllll Yes!”

Most people think Christmas is the best time to get engaged, but we disagree. Fall is here, and we want to celebrate everything dark and spooky. So if you love black diamonds, skull jewelry or just doing things a little different, now is the perfect time to put a ring on it. Express your dark side with these 20 beautiful Day of the Dead inspired rings.

1. This Deliciously Macabre Black Diamond Ring

Credit: Til Death Do Us Part. Digital Image. Rickson Jewelry.

We love the subtle touches on this black diamond engagement ring, from the creepy setting, to the bone detail in the ring itself.

From Rickson Jewellery 

2. This Sapphire Skeleton Hand

Credit: Sapphire Skeleton Hand Ring. Digital Image. Carolyn Nicole.

A delicate sapphire offsets the skeletal flair of this seriously unique ring. Would love to show this off when someone asks to see the ring.

From Carolyn Nicole Designs

3. This Classic Ring with a Twist

Credit: Skull Engagement Ring. Digital Image. Minimalist Designs.

At first glance, this gold band and princess cut diamond might look like a traditional ring, but look again. Hi spooky friends!

From Minimalist Designs

4. This Garnet Calavera Ring

Credit: Antique Skull Garnet Ring. Digital Image. Hollywood Design Store.

This garnet-eyed calavera is an antique, and one of a kind. Jump on it before it’s gone!

From Hollywood Design Store

5. This Understated Pearl Skull Ring

Credit: Carved pearl skull ring. Digital Image. Leola Revives.

How perfectly pretty and delicate is this little pearl skull ring? Lurve.

From Leola Survives

6. This Delicate Kissing Ring

Credit: Silver Skull Kissing Ring. Digital Image. yhtanaff.

We love the details in this pretty little expression of love. Til death do you part.

From yhtanaff

7. This Perfect Gothic Ruby Bat Ring

Credit: Bat Ring. Digital Image. Cerrious Design.

Bat, please. Nothing says “non-traditional bride” like nature’s creepiest night crawlers on your ring.

From Cerrious Design

8. This Gorgeous Multi Color Sugar Skull

Credit: Sugar Skull Ring. Digital Image. Wexford Jewelers.

Honestly, this ring is almost too pretty to wear. Any bride to be with an attachment to Dia de los Muertes would drool over it.

From Wexford Jewelers

9. This Thin Silver Branch Band

Credit: Silver Twig Band. Digital Image. Wexford Jewelers.

If you’re not looking for something showy, this subtle branch band calls back to nature and Bruja witchcraft, without being too in your face.

From Wexford Jewelers

10. This Bronze Calavera Ring

Credit: Bronce Calavera. Digital Image. MUSIBATTY.

This not-so-delicate skull is made by artisans in Mexico and hand crafted from bronze to be unique.

From MUSIBATTY

11. This Totally Boss Skull Ring

Credit: Calavera Skull Ring. Digitial Image. Periplo Experience.

How cool do you have to be to pull off a ring like this? The crazy intricate detail alone has us screaming “yaaaaaaasss”

From Periplo Experience

12. This Snake Knot of Love

Credit: Double Headed Snake Ring. Digital Image. Cast Away Handcarved.

These serpentine lovers are hand carved to order. Do snakes mate for life?

From Cast Away Handcarved

13. This Handmade Ruby Skull Ring

  

Credit: Ruby Dia De Los Muertas Ring. Pacific Grove Jewelers.

Loving the subtle detail on this handmade, vintage-inspired ring. And yes, it’s a real ruby.

From Pacific Grove Jewelers

14. This Drool-worthy Black Diamond

Credit: Pinterest. @SapphireDesign

If bling bling is your thing, look no further. This show stopping black diamond and crusted band are going to have everyone staring at your hand.

From Sapphire Design Studios

15. This Rainbow Stone Rose Gold Beauty

Credit: Pinterest. @Jeulia

Rose gold is still in right? Either way, this rainbow stone embraces the color and flair Dia de los Muertos is famous for.

From Jeulia

16. This Classic Diamond with a Touch of Muerte

Credit: Pinterest. @Jeulia

Blink and you might miss it. This classic-seeming engagement ring has just a subtle touch of the dead.

From Jeulia

17. This Rainbow Topaz Skull Ring

Credit: Skull Engagement Ring Topaz. Digital Image. KIPKALINKA.

We love topaz for an engagement ring, and this one has the added bonus of a pair of skulls to hold it up.

From KIPKALINKA

18. This Sparkly Stack of Skull Rings

Credit: Pinterest. @Jeulia

You can never have too many calaveras. Or sparkly things.

From Jeulia

19. This Black Amethyst Statement Ring

Credit: Pinterest. @Jeulia

Leave no doubts in anyone’s mind about your personal style with this knockout amethyst, black metal stunner.

From Jeulia

20. This Little Skull Rock

Credit: Pinterest. @UntilDeathInc

Another gorgeous ring with just a *hint* of muerte in it. Yes please.

From Until Death Inc.


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First and Last Confession: What This Xicana Learned Marrying a Mexican

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First and Last Confession: What This Xicana Learned Marrying a Mexican

As a baby, I was baptized in the Catholic Church, but I hardly stepped foot in another Catholic Church, or any church, through my childhood, teen years, or into early adulthood. I joined a punk band instead, played drums, wrote lyrics about sexism, and toured the world with three other women. I never wanted to get married, but then I did. I married a man from Mexico, and we decided to make it official in his pueblo where his family could attend the wedding and finally see him after ten long years, but first, I’d have to do something else I thought I’d never do.

On the morning of the wedding ceremony, my brother in law told me that I had to go to confession.

Photo provided by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

I imagined a wooden closet the size of a phone booth with a screen over the window, like the one I had stumbled into by accident while looking for a pay phone, but I was directed to the priest’s office instead. He was sitting behind his desk and gestured for me to sit down in the empty chair. I wanted to reach up and touch my wedding pienado, the large looping Selena-bun on the top of my head, held in place with half a can of hairspray and about one hundred bobby pins, but I knew better.

“Shit, shit, shit,” was all I could think.

What if I didn’t understand him? What if he spoke that kind of rapid-fire Spanish that my college Spanish couldn’t keep up with? I had told my husband, the man that I had already been married to, by the state, for two years that I also wanted a traditional Mexican wedding.

Naively, I hadn’t quite realized that all this church stuff is what he thought I meant when what I really I meant was Mexico, his family, some birria, and Mariachis.

Photo provided by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

“How long has it been since your last confession,” the priest asked in Spanish, a phrase that I half understood and half expected.

“Um, nunca, nunca, he confesado,” I stammered not wanting to lie straight away.

“Nunca?”

Swallowing hard, I shook my head.

I was baptized as a baby, but that was it. Once my mother left my father, she left, Los Angeles, and in some ways, Mexican culture, and definitely religion, behind. I was only allowed (deemed eligible, by men, of course) to marry my husband in the Catholic Church because I had done six months of adult catechism in a supposed progressive Catholic church in the Bay Area. Six months of Tuesday nights talking about Jesus. I wouldn’t have minded six months of talking about La Virgen de Guadalupe, or even actually learning the rosary, or when to stand and sit in Mass, but six months of talking about Catholics, and the Bible, and Jesus just made it clear why I steered clear of religion in the first place: the holy trinity of male deities, too much patriarchy, and way too much misogyny. Still I’m Mexican, a Xicana, and I was marrying a Mexican national, I figured it wouldn’t kill me to learn more about the church, the rituals, and more about the interconnectedness between Mexican culture and its predominate religion.

Fortunately, my brother-in-law, Mario, who planned the wedding, had filled the priest in on my unique situation and I had been sent to Mexico with a letter from the local diocese that assured the Mexican priest I was eligible for the sacrament of marriage once he performed my first communion and confirmation. Fast forward sacraments, each would follow the other in quick succession, the first communion; hold this candle, sip this wine, and the confirmation; please, padre, I prayed silently, please don’t drip oil on my white dress, all performed before my immediate family just before the start of the wedding ceremony itself. It was a lot of waiting before I got my mariachis, but none of it would happen until I had my first and last confession.

The priest’s office was heavy and dark. The priest furrowed his brow, unsure of what to do or say, for I’m certain he’d never been in this situation before. I sat, my hands folded in my lap on my wedding gown, watching him decide what to do, nervous that he’d expect me to recite some prayer in Spanish that I had never even said in English.

“Entonces, dime has sido una hija obediente?”

Photo provided by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

Had I been an obedient daughter? To whom? My wife-beater father who I never knew? My mind raced for a suitable answer and the right words to express them within a language that I struggled to speak smoothly, and I decided I didn’t need to count my father.

“Si, Padre,” I said, though no one had used the word obedient to describe me since I was in the first grade. I wanted to crack with laughter, but I knew this wasn’t the time.

“Has sido una hermana buena con tus hermanos?”

“Si, Padre,” I said, even though I had told my blonde sister she was adopted, and beat up my brother when we fought until he grew taller than me.

“Muy bien,” he said, and he blessed me, presided over my first communion, confirmed me, and married me to my husband in his family’s church, which brought great joy and comfort to his family who hadn’t seen him in ten years because he wasn’t a citizen, couldn’t travel back and forth, having been undocumented all that time. So I knelt, and I stood, and I stood, and I knelt, and squeezed my husband’s hand, and sweated in my heavy gown, and mouthed, “watermelon, watermelon, watermelon,” while everyone else recited prayers memorized from childhood. And I stared up at the towering Jesus on the cross, unable to escape his sad eyes and the irony of it all, until we busted from the church and into the loving arms of family, a showering of rice, and the celebratory sounds of Mariachi horns all around us.


Read: For Three Years I Fought My Sexual Assault Case, And Now I’ve Won

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Get Some Ofrenda Inspo with These Altars Honoring Our Ancestors for Día de los Muertos

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Get Some Ofrenda Inspo with These Altars Honoring Our Ancestors for Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos has been celebrated since the days of the Aztecs. It’s Indigenous roots are still strong. However, the holiday has evolved to incorporate Christian imagery as it’s become more mainstream. In fact, the celebration has become extremely popular, with Día de los Muertos parties held all over the world.

Though Día de los Muertos has grown, the tradition of building ofrendas to our deceased loved ones is still going strong.

Ofrendas— or offerings— are ritualistic shrines that honor deceased loved ones. While usually bold and sentimental, ofrendas can take on any shape or size. These shrines are highly personalized for each loved one, too. The shrines feature things an ancestor loved during life. Each ofrenda is unique and beautifully embodies the spirit of Día de los Muertos. Moreover, there’s no one way to build an ofrenda.

Here are twenty gorgeous ofrendas from around the Latinidad.

1. This Ofrenda featuring a giant Catrina.

Credit: voladormexico / Instagram

Ofrendas often feature colorful and vibrant skulls. Whether made of sugar, glass, or paper, these skulls are sugnificant; symbolizing the dead who journey back to the land of the living once a year. The most icon of these skeleton personalities is La Calavera Catrina.

2. An outdoor altar to those on their otherworldly journey.

Credit: sofia_anika / Instagram

Observers of Día de los Muertos believe our loved ones continue life in the spiritual realm. As they enjoy their otherworldly lives, they are separated from the land of the living by a thin veil. On Día de los Muertos, this veil is lifted and loved ones are able to check in on their mortal families. 

3. La Virgen de Guadalupe rests on this ofrenda.

Credit: hou_bou  / Instagram

In order to incorporate Aztec and Catholic beliefs, many ofrendas feature Christian iconography. Día de los Muertos isn’t a Christian festival. However, like with Santeria, ideologies are blended into a unique celebration of beliefs. Statues and images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, angels, santos, and Jesus are often added to alters.

4. Colores y flores

Credit: tizmtz / Instagram

Ofrendas are often extremely colorful. Like this alter, most feature bright papel picado banners and Aztec (or Mexican) marigolds. Whether fresh or made from silk, these flowers are a staple on alters across Latin America. Aztec marigolds are such a staple of Día de los Muertos that children are often taught to make them out of tissue paper to contribute to ofrendas. 

5. This first place ofrenda.

Credit: 67mach1 / Instagram

Ofrenda competitions have become common in communities that celebrate Día de los Muertos. The holiday has become so mainstream that festivals, marathons, parties and art shows are held every year. These events not only honor our ancestors but often introduce new people to the culture and beliefs of the Latinidad. 

6. An ofrenda full of offerings.

Left to tempt those on the other side, fruit is often added to ofrendas. Fresh fruit, artificial fruit, and fruit made from candied marzipan can be found at these alters. These offerings are not necessarily for the dead to eat but are there to lure them to their shrines. 

7. An ofrenda in progress.  

Many household ofrendas are built over the course of several days. More details are added to the altar up until Día de los Muertos. Celebrations for the Day of the Dead can last many days so these shrines are often showcased in homes and the public for several weeks up to the holiday and beyond. 

8. An altar full of cempasuchitl.

Cempasuchitl, or Aztec marigolds, signal the departed spirits to their ofrendas. Like the offerings of food, the Aztec marigolds are meant to attract spirits with their earthly-appeal. The vibrant color and bold perfume of cempasuchitl tempt departed souls just as much as their favorite foods. 

9. This massive Puebla ofrenda.

Ofrendas can be any shape or size. There are some ofrendas that are so massive that they reach towards the heavens. Additionally, ofrendas can be small and portable enough slip in your purse and take with you on the go. This gorgeous ofrenda filled with flowers, plant and fruit is several feet long and filled with alluring offerings.

10. Dedicated to those who died delivering truth and knowledge.  

Besides ofrendas para la familia, Día de los Muertos observes sometimes build shrines to honor specfic deaths. This ofrenda remembers journalists from around the world who died out in the field. Considering the current climate of hostility towards the new media, this ofrenda is especially significant. Unfortunately, alters like this could become more plentiful if this hatred continues. 

11. Pan muerte for los Muertos.

Offerings of food are another staple during Día de los Muertos. To tempt other-worldly sweet tooths, pan muerte is left on ofrendas as a snack for visiting spirits. Left over food that hasn’t gone bad after the festival can be eaten by observers. However, since it has been eaten by the dead in the spirit world, this food is said to have no taste remaining. 

12. An ofrenda for Frida.

Famous figureheads from music, art, media and politics also have shrines built in their honor during Día de los Muertos. The famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo has hundreds of ofrendas dedicated to her every year. Though she has been dead nearly 65 years, she is still remembered in these ofrendas. 

13. Fit for a Prince.

Credit: abc7vista / Instagram

Our communities often build ofrendas to honor favorite celebrities. For example, this one is dedicated to the late musician Prince. The belief is that as long as your picture is on an ofrenda, you are remembered and allowed to visit the land of the living. In the tradition of Día de los Muertos, being forgotten is equal to an absolute death. 

14. In honor of Mexican star Mária Félix.

Credit: alba_aube_baez / Instagram

Mexican film actress and singer Mária Félix was a huge star during the 1940s and 1950s. There’s no doubt that she inspired Latina actresses in a time when Latinx people weren’t considered movie star material. To honor her accomplishments and celebrate her life, fans all over Mexico still make ofrendas to immortalize her.

15. This “Ritzy” display.

Credit: ccritztheatre / Instagram

During Dia de los Muertos, public spaces often feature themed alters to welcome the spirits of famous dead people. Additionaly, spirits don’t have to be from the Latinidad in order to participate in the holiday. For example, this themed ofrenda is dedicated to the stars of Old Hollywood. The spirits of stars like Ingrid Bergman and James Dean just might visit this alter. 

16. A candlelit ofrenda.

Credit: mexicolin / Instagram

In addition to shrines at home, offerings are taken to the grave on the Day of the Dead. Bathed in candlelight, offerings are lit up to attract deceased loved ones during the evening hours. Votive candles and incense are used to send prayers and wishes to spirits. All in all, it makes for a gorgeous sight whether you’re living or one of the dead. 

17. Dedicated to a deceased mother.

Credit: artelexia / Instagram

This ofrenda was a group effort dedicated to a community member’s mother. If a valued community member passes away their neighborhood may build a public offering. Clearly, these public representations of love and remembrance can be just as important for the living as they are for the deceased.

18. This hauntingly beautiful public ofrenda.

Credit: miriamsalgado78 / Instagram

Día de los Muertos has become such a widespread holiday that public areas— like restaurants and shops— often build ofrendas of their own. Huge installations often welcome additions of pictures, food or items to their own alters. Don’t worry if a deceased person appears on more than one ofrend. Undoubtedly, spirits are able to visit all offerings calling to them.

19. A natural offering.

Public ofrendas often incorporate the natural elements into their alter in addition to decorations. In many ways, these ofrendas are a merger of the spiritual and the natural. Natural stone and metals, plants, succulents, native flowers and animal imagery were important details in the artwork of the Aztecs. 

20. An ofrenda that says “Recuérdame.”

Extremely elaborate ofrendas can take weeks of planning and execution. For example, this one shows a beautiful dedication to honoring a loved one. Moreover, with its skulls, food, candles, papel picado, Aztec marigolds and Catholic imagery, this ofrenda has very component typical of these shrines to our dead. 


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