The traditional Día de los Muertos ofrenda, a Day of the Dead alter, is a long-standing celebration of life and a way to honor departed loved ones. Decorated skulls, called calaveras, and marigold flowers or flor cempasúchil, are iconic symbols of the fiesta, celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America on November 1st and 2nd.
The decorated skulls represent honored spirits, and when they’re made from sugar, they celebrate the sweetness of life. Marigolds help guide souls of the departed to the ofrenda with their fragrance and bright colors.
Learn how to decorate your alter with papier mâché calaveritas and cempasúchil tissue paper flowers with the Señora Hacks video from we are mitú, above.
In the Charlotte Observer video, below, artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner, who grew up in Mexico City, shares what traditional items are included in an ofrenda.
In addition to photos, flowers, and skulls, tables are set up with the departed ones’ favorite foods and drinks, the music they enjoyed, and symbolic representations of the four essential elements of life: fire (candles that light their way), water (favorite beverages), earth (fruits and foods they liked), and wind (colorful papel picado).
Watch these related videos next on TKSST:
• La Catrina introduces Día de los Muertos
• Día De Los Muertos, a short animated celebration
• Alebrijes, Mexico’s Beautiful Monsters
• Delve into the relationship between flowers and humans: Story of Flowers 2
• Dia de los Muertos, an animated journey to the land of the dead