Unlike Halloween, which takes a tone of darkness and fear, Día de Muertos is a joyous holiday when families and friends come together to celebrate the lives, legacies, and souls of those who have passed. This celebration is rooted in the indigenous’ tradition of commemorating the gods and goddesses of the underworld. On November 1st and 2nd of each year, it is believed that the dead roam the earth to visit their families. Altars or ofrendas are made to guide the souls to their homes, and they are decorated with candles and strong scents– such as cempasúchil – to call the souls to their altar. The spirits are weary after their long trip, so pan de muerto (their favorite food), and even some tequila is offered to make the souls happy upon their return.

Today, as Día de Muertos celebrations conclude, here are five virtual altars we made to honor some of the most notable women in Latin music.

1

Celia Cruz

Itzel_Celia

By: Itzel Alejandra Martinez

To this beloved Afro-Cubana and the Queen of Salsa we offer her performance dress, records (since she made 23 gold albums), and some sugar pa’ que nos cante “Azucar!”.

2

Mercedes Sosa

Itzel_Mercedes

By: Itzel Alejandra Martinez

To this rebellious spirit we offer her hand drum, a beautiful red rebozo to save from the cold November air, y un pajarito to sing next to her.

3

Selena Quintanilla

Itzel_Selena

By: Itzel Alejandra Martinez

To pay homage to this dreamy Tejana we offer her pizza (since it was her favorite food), a microphone so she can sing the night away, and her flower of choice: white roses.

4

Niña Emilia

Itzel_Emilia

By: Itzel Alejandra Martinez

To one of the most iconic voices of Colombian bullerengue music, we offer a tambor alegre and some aguardiente to put her in a dancing mood.

5

Chavela Vargas

Itzel_Chavela

By: Itzel Alejandra Martinez

A la mera mera of ranchera music we offer some tequila to clear her throat, a guitar for her sad ballads, and cempasúchil to bring her to our altar.