How To Make An Altar For The Dead? Follow These Tips

With this celebration on top, you may wonder how to make an altar for the dead. Here we give you some tips.

Altar of the dead

These festivals began in the main Aztec and Mayan civilizations, who were the ones who developed a ritual around the cults of their ancestors. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Nereida Vega

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo hacer un altar de muertos?, sigue estos consejos

Most people around the world remember the Day of the Dead as a sad date. However, there are regions that commemorate it with a great festival, where they perform from parades to offerings to the dead. These parties are originally from Mexico, but over the years it has inspired other countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Guatemala in this celebration. In addition, in countries like Argentina it is celebrated, but with less importance.

This date took its peak in 2008 because it was named by UNESCO as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Mexico. These festivals began in the main Aztec and Mayan civilizations, who were the ones who developed a ritual around the cults of their ancestors. This action constituted the precedent for the celebration of the Day of the Dead.

On the other hand, when the Spaniards arrived in Latin America, they brought their own customs for the celebration of their deceased. However, the arrival of the Spanish caused a mixture of European and pre-Hispanic traditions. Both celebrations coincided (that of the Day of the Saints, with that of the Mayans and Aztecs), resulting in the day of the dead. This date has taken on great importance in several countries of the world and there are customs that are already being observed.

¿Ya tienes todo para tu altar de Día de Muertos?Te dejamos la lista completa de los elementos que debe llevar la ofrenda y su significado. https://t.co/nlB9MR98pR pic.twitter.com/kEEU5HC46M

— México desconocido (@mexdesconocido) October 21, 2021


Day of the Dead customs

There are many ways to make an altar of the dead, this depends mostly on the wishes of the family and the country in which it is located. However, LatinAmerican Post gives you tips to develop them.

  • Offerings of the dead. There are various materials used to make these offerings.
  • Sweet skulls. They have the name of the deceased to whom they pay homage written on their foreheads and are consumed by friends and family
  • Bread of the dead. It is a type of sweet bread with skull and skeleton shapes that is sprinkled with sugar and is made with anise.
  • Flowers. Families tend to adorn the graves of the dead with varieties of flowers, especially the velvet one that is believed to attract and guide the soul of the dead.
  • Portrait of the person remembered. This image goes to the highest part of the altar
  • Water and food. Water is placed because it refers to the purity of the soul and food so that the deceased can enjoy their favorite foods.
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Recommendations for making an altar for the dead. What should you have?

There are many materials to make an altar of the dead, but you are advised to implement some.

  • A photograph of the deceased.
  • Colorful flowers.
  • Water that means purity and is used to quench the thirst of the deceased.
  • Other implements such as meals, personal belongings of the deceased can also be added.
  • In some countries, they use candles so that the deceased have divine light on the way to heaven.
  • Incense with various fragrances is part of some traditions.

How to make an altar for the dead?

  • Making an altar varies according to the beliefs of the countries and family members. However, it is recommended to implement two bases and cover them with a fabric that allows highlighting the decoration.
  • Then place flowers and the photo of the deceased being honored.
  • Place the deceased's favorite food and personal belongings, as well as water, candles, among others. It's very easy, make your own altar!

In short, it is important to note that to make an altar there is no manual with specific rules to follow, each altar is unique for the person who is honored. The most important thing when making an altar for a deceased person is to remember the good times that they lived with that person and celebrate what they experienced.

Happy Day of the Dead!