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Life Boost

Tue, Oct 27, 2020

Jamie Keil

Jamie Keil - Learning & Engagement Manager

Marigolds + Tissue Paper Flowers: Día de los Muertos Craft

Día de los Muertos is an annual pre-hispanic Indigenous celebration from October 31st to November 2nd. Every year to honor the dead, different Indigenous peoples would build altars for their gods and the deceased. Designed to welcome their souls back to the living world, most altars are heavily adorned with marigolds.

Marigold flowers orange pixabay 12708

The largest indigenous group in Mexico, the Nahua people, who speak Náhuatl, call them cempazúchitl (sehm-pah-zu-cheel). The bright yellow or orange flower represents the sun and it is said the flowers guide the souls of the dead. Their fragrant smell and bright color are considered helpful in guiding the deceased back to the living world. These flowers are placed on gravestones, tucked into dancers’ hair, and petals lead the way to various altars & ofrendas.

You can buy marigolds from local Santa Cruz County Farms, farmer's markets, and some grocery stores. If your local market is sold out of marigolds, you can also decorate and recreate their beauty with some tissue paper flowers. Follow the tutorial below using orange and yellow tissue paper to have them look like real marigolds. Or get creative and play with color in a great Día de los Muertos community craft.

P.s. In our outdoor exhibition, Community is Collective Care, we’ve put together a few free, creativity kits to help get you started. Pick up the kits, found near the community fridge, to start making your own tissue paper flowers at home.

How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers

Steps to make mexican marigold flowers craft Cempazuchitl kids activity blog
  • The first thing I always do is a bit of inspirational research. Check out our Pinterest board for some awesome ideas.
  • Grab your materials: Tissue Paper, Scissors & Pipe Cleaners.
  • Cut your tissue paper into squares. We recommend squares bigger than 4x4 inches.
  • Make a stack of about 5-6 tissue paper squares.
  • Accordion fold the stack of squares using a table or a hard surface.
  • Wrap a pipe cleaner around once or twice down the center and twist it closed.
  • Carefully, separate the layers of tissue paper pulling them towards the center.
  • Pull each layer up and fluff it to make it into a beautifully shaped marigold.

Don't forget to take a picture! We would love to see what you made. Take a picture and either tag @santacruzmah on social media or send an email to jamie@santacruzmah.org

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