SAN ANTONIO – Want to learn to build an altar to celebrate Día de Muertos but don’t know where to start? Chef Johnny Hernández and H-E-B have you covered.
After years of traveling through Mexico for inspiration to create vibrant menus at his multiple restaurants including La Gloria, Burgerteca and Fruteria, Hernández says he wanted people’s cultural experiences in San Antonio to involve education.
In his latest venture, Hernández has partnered with the grocery giant to offer an experience where heaven, earth and technology meet through an altar kit. Although details are pending, H-E-B will soon begin the distribution of kits for kids.
H-E-B said they will only have a limited number of the kits for distribution.
“As a surprise and delight for our customers, we will give them out free as part of select orders placed via H-E-B Curbside. They will not be available for purchase in our stores. We do hope to offer them for sale next year,” H-E-B said.
The carefully curated boxes full of culture, history and art were shipped directly from a family of artisans in Michoacan, México.
“The Torres Family in Michoacan are famous for their celebrations (of Día de Muertos) in Mexico, and they have a beautiful (shop) where they make beautiful (skulls),” Hernández said. “Delia (Torres) helped us assemble all the kits from all the different producers in Michoacan.”
The altar kit includes paper marigolds, decorated sugar skulls, ceramic pieces to place the salt and water, hand-cut papel picado, candles and more.
“This altar kit is made for a small table,” Hernández said. “What’s also very customary is to create different level. You can actually use the (kit) box to create a level (towards) the back of the altar.”
A special spirit inside the kit helps the altars come to life by simply scanning a QR code included in the box. Once the code is scanned, visitors will meet Camila La Catrina, a symbol that represents death in the afterlife.
“Camilla walks you through the assembly of the altar and talks about all the elements (through) the little buttons you (click) through,” Hernández said.
Hernández hopes that through this activity, families will embrace this tradition in their own homes and communities.
H-E-B and Hernández will also distribute painting kits that include a paper mâché skull, a variety of paints and a brush.
To meet Camila La Catrina and explore more activities for children, click here.
For more information on the Día de Muertos celebrations happening in San Antonio, click here.