Flowers and tequila welcome the dead |

Flowers and tequila welcome the dead

Wren Wertin
AE Day of Dead Alt BH 10-30

It’s a long trip back from the afterlife, but good parties are always worth the trip.

Agave begins celebrating El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, Sunday at 9 p.m. Richard Wheelock, owner of Agave, has studied up on the traditional Mexican celebration of those loved and lost. The foyer of the restaurant is dominated by a four-story altar, replete with photographs, candles, marigolds, bread, drinks and more. This is the second year Agave has celebrated Day of the Dead.

“Last year it was more candied up,” said Wheelock. “This year it’s more traditional, the right flowers, the right candles and levels.”

There will be a costume party with a $250 prize, as well as door prizes. But he wants the celebration to be an honorable one. He described it as a happy time to remember those who were special. He issued an open invitation to the public to come and contribute to the altar with a photograph or memento of a loved one. Anyone doing so will get a free drink.

“The story is, you put this altar up, because when the dead come back you want them to see that you’re honoring them,” he said. “We put the four candles at the four points of the compass, so they can find it. There’s soap and water to wash up after their journey. A bottle of water for them to drink. Bread, water and salt are the main things you serve.”

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The Agave altar also has oranges, an ear of corn, a tamale and tequila. In Mexico, where “the day” is celebrated in earnest for nigh on a week, families head out to cemeteries to clean up the graves and plant flowers. There’s a special bread baked for the occasion, and Coca Cola bottles are frequent offerings on the altars.

“It’s happy to remember these people,” continued Wheelock. “We can look back upon them happily.”

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

We remember

what: El Dia de los Muertos

when: Sunday, 9 p.m.

where Agave, Avon

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