Día de Muertos Home
Altars and Ofrendas

For Día de los Muertos we welcome the dead into our homes with respect, devotion, and humor. It’s a time for reunion and celebration while constructing meaning into one’s life. For 24-hours the dead have divine permission to visit loved ones. They are honored guests who must be regaled and feted! For most, the altar is the central focus of thistradition - filled with provisions and remembrances. The origins of Día de los Muertos are varied. Often ofrendas (offerings) include Catholic religious symbols with Mesoamerican influences. Influences like the ritual of including a person’s tools alongside the body before cremation followed by 80 days of placing food and water at the family or temple altar. The Nahua people welcomed their deceased by shouting their names - leading them to elaborate offerings of food, water, tobacco, new clothes and tools. Those who do not build altars, do, for the most part, follow the Spanish/European customs of taking flowers and cleaning graves, like Memorial Day in the United States.