How to celebrate The Day of the Dead and make an altar at home?

Since it celebrates the return of our deceased to the world of the living to live with family, friends or loved ones and nourish themselves with the essence of the food placed in the offering or altars. The Day of the Dead celebration takes place on November 1 and 2. On November 1, children are received and on November 2, the “Faithful Departed” that is, adults. This celebration is more than 3000 years old in Mexico, which is why it was named by UNESCO as oral and intangible heritage of humanity since 2003.

Making an altar is quite an experience and although it is not complicated, it requires a lot of attention to detail since the vast majority of elements placed on the altar have a meaning.


The offering placed on the altar is made on the occasion of sharing with our deceased the food, the fruits, the favorite drinks of our deceased, etc. The idea is to create a ritual that summons memory.

Here is a list of essential elements for your altar:

Papel picado: Papel picado represents the union between life and death, as well as giving it a colorful touch; Bread of the dead: Represents the generosity of the recipient and the gift of the earth itself, although it is also said to represent a skull and tears; Water: To quench the thirst of souls and strengthen them for their return; Candles: Symbol that guides souls to the world of the living; Copal: Keeps away evil spirits. Photography: They serve to remember the deceased; Salt: Purifies the soul and prevents them from being corrupted on their journey to and fro; Cempasuchil flower: Path of flowers from the door to the altar to guide the path of souls to the offering.


It is time to put into practice this tradition originating from pre-Hispanic times to honor our dead and learn that despite the pain that a loss can cause, we must rejoice, because as Mario Benedetti said: “Death is just a symptom that there was life.”

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