Diana Ortiz
My name is Diana Ortiz, I am a communications manager at Microsoft. 
Being of Mexican heritage and growing up in the US, I’ve become more intentional about connecting back to my cultura and tradiciones.
This year, I wanted to celebrate Día de Muertos for the first time to remember and honor my abuelitos, Juventina and Pastor, who have passed.
I didn’t know much about Dia de Muertos traditions, so I asked my parents and Bing AI to help me understand how to recognize my ancestors. Let me show you how it went.
First, I started by asking Bing AI, “Could you help me build an ofrenda for Día de Muertos this year?” Ofrendas are a way to pay tribute to those who have passed away by offering them a variety of Mexican delicacies, beverages, and flowers, among other symbolic elements.
The first thing I needed to get were marigolds, or cempasuchil, and I picked up some beautiful orange and yellow marigolds to decorate the altar. These flowers are believed to attract the souls of the dead with their color and scent.
I also picked up a few veladoras, white candles representing faith and hope. Like the cempasuchil, the candles light the path for our loved ones to find their way to the ofrenda.
Bing also mentioned to get calaveras de azucar, decorated and colorful sugar skulls that represent rebirth and death. They come in all sizes, colors, and patterns, and I found ones that I thought my loved ones would like best.
No ofrenda is ready without papel picado, traditional paper banners that add color and festivity. For holidays, we’d use papel picado at home to decorate, and I loved finding these skull-shaped banners.
After getting all the decorations, it was time to make some delicious pan de muerto. This sweet bread is a staple for Día de Muertos and is meant to nourish the souls of those alive and dead.
I asked Bing AI for a pan de muerto recipe and gathered all the ingredients, which include flour, sugar, salt, and anise seeds. After making the dough, I let it rest for some time before taking it to the oven.
Traditionally, you can have some of the bread, but make sure to leave some in the ofrenda for the dead.  I enjoyed making the bread from scratch because it connected me with the millions of people celebrating this holiday worldwide.
For the final touch, I added the most important element to finish my altar: a wedding photo of my late abuelitos. Thanks to Bing AI, I learned how to celebrate Día de Muertos this year and honor my ancestors.