Part 2 of 4 Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve is tonight. Children dress up going from house to house to receive sweet treats. Could it be that for this one night in the United States, we embrace death instead of fearing it? Tomorrow on November 1st, All Saint’s Day- Dia de los Muertos when creating your altar honoring your departed reverence can fill our hearts as these beautiful altars are constructed with love and care. Creating these altars is one of the most important traditions during Day of the Dead in Mexico and in Mexican-American communities around the globe. I invite you to create your altar honoring your departed today – All Hallow’s Eve – so when you open your door to your Trick or Treaters, they see your altar honoring your departed and receive a new awareness. The elements of an altar honoring your departed may include:
- Candles – Candles are lit to welcome the spirits back to their altars.
- Marigolds – These yellow-orange flowers, also called cempasúchitl, symbolize death. Their strong fragrance also help lead the dead back to their altars. Marigold petals may also be sprinkled on the floor in front of the altar, or even sprinkled along a path from the altar to the front door, so that the spirit may find her way inside.
- Incense – Most commonly, copal incense, which is the dried aromatic resin from a tree native to Mexico. The scent is also said to guide the spirits back to their altars
- Salt – represents the continuance of life.
- Photo of the deceased – A framed photo of the dead person to whom the altar is dedicated, usually positioned in a prime spot on the altar.
- Pan de muerto – Also known as “bread of the dead”, pan de muerto is a symbol of the departed.
- Sugar skulls – As symbols of death and the afterlife, sugar skulls are not only given as gifts to the living during Day of the Dead, they are also placed as offerings on the altar.
- Fresh fruit – whatever is in season — oranges, bananas, etc.
- Other foods – Traditional Day of the Dead foods that you would find on altars include atole, mole, tamales, and tortillas. Altars also usually include the dead person’s favorite foods, including modern foods like Rice Krispies or potato chips.
- Built on the entryway table
- Included: Candles, Marigolds, Incense, Salt , photos of the deceased AND
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