You’re probably familiar with popular Day of the Dead imagery that shows up in late October such as face painting and colorful paper flowers.
But do you know the elements that make up an ofrenda, the traditional altar, or what sugar skulls mean during Dia de los Muertos?
From traditional altar items to what foods are used to celebrate the Day of the Dead, primarily in Mexico, Central America and the United States, read on to learn more about this holiday.
What does Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, celebrate?
Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of expression in many ways. Not only is it dedicated to remembering and honoring those loved ones who have passed, it’s centrally focused on the artistic expression of the living through the creation of ofrendas, costumes, cooking and other tokens and offerings.
When is Day of the Dead celebrated?
It is typically celebrated Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.
What is an ofrenda?
A Day of the Dead altar, called an ofrenda, typically includes marigolds, candles, food and pictures of dead loved ones. People set them up in their homes, at cemeteries and other places that hold significance.
What is the purpose of the marigold petals leading up to the altars?
They are believed to help spirits find the altar with their strong scent and bright color.
What is the purpose of toy skulls and skeletons in Day of the Dead celebrations?
Among other things, they are a means to introduce children to the concept of death without fear.
What does the sugar in sugar skulls represent?
The sweetness of life.
What is pan de muerto?
It’s a sweet bread traditionally made for Day of the Dead offerings.
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