An important part of any Day of the Dead celebration is the creation of a space for Mictlān, representing the underworld, or place of the dead, where we can set up and display our altars/ofrendas.
Typically (though this can vary household by household), Day of the Dead Altars, known as Altares de Muertos or Ofrendas, are put up during Día de los Muertos celebrations on November 1 and 2 to honour, respectively, children and adults who have passed away.
Based on the idea that the souls (animas) of the departed can return to the world of the living during these days, the altars function as prominent signposts to show the souls their way home. The ofrendas, lovingly created and often personalized for those who have passed on, make the souls feel welcome, showing them that they have not been forgotten.
Acknowledging that culture is a living, always transforming thing, we encourage members of the community to adapt this tradition to their own culture and circumstances. Most important in the celebrations and the ofrendas is to capture the spirit of respect, love, and honour we extend to those who have gone before us and who shape us still.
In Mexico, the particulars of altars vary by region. Most ofrendas follow a general yellow/orange colour scheme and include some of all of the following elements:
Find a digital image of a loved one or loved pet that has passed. (Any size/dimensions are fine. Please use a .jpg or .png)
Name the file with their name e.g. emma.jpg or firstname lastname.jpg (Please do not use any special characters and place a space in the name)
Email the image to DDLMaltar@orci.com CLICK TO EMAIL PHOTO
Once we receive your image, it will shortly be posted to the digital altar with the images of everyone’s loved ones upon review. CLICK TO RETURN TO ALTAR
Día de los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd and originated in ancient Mesoamerica where indigenous groups, including Aztec, Maya and Toltec, commemorated their loved ones who had passed away in celebrations of the cycle of life. Like any other celebration, Día de los Muertos is filled with music, colors, and joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the main reason for these festivities is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members.
Día de los Muertos Altars’ “ofrendas” are made as a way of remembering and honoring these loved ones. The altars are made to guide the spirits back to the land of the living. Every altar includes the four elements: water, wind, earth, and fire to aid this journey, in addition to the imagery or items from loved ones.
Tradition says the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours. The spirits of the adults can do the same on November 2.
Wally and Verla
Amalia Fernández de Ramser
José Antonio Fernández Chapa
Cuba en sus quince
Edgar Morataya aka Tio Kato
Luis y Elita