It’s the November 2nd, and as such the second day of the celebration Día de los Muertos. After our quick overview yesterday, I feel very proud to be able to present to you a guest entry for this blog. T.T. was very kind and wrote some lines about her personal celebration. So here, you have the possibility to get a first-hand report about an ofrenda, how the altars are called. They are filled with strong symbolism. This is what the post will be about.
In Memoria of those who are not with us anymore….
The Day of Dead has a great meaning for Mexican people and it’s one of our more important traditions. I don’t say Halloween, since that’s from the USA – for me it’s called “Día de Muertos”, this year I made an investigation about the elements I use to do my “ofrenda” how this altar is called.
I have built an ofrenda for many years. The names on the skulls are for two purposes: one is just to remember special dead people and the other one is just for fun when we give to somebody a skull with his or her name. But that doesn’t mean, that we wish him or her the death! It’s just something funny with love.
The ofrenda is made of many elements, but some of them are very, very important and I will write them down just to let you know the meaning of this great Mexican tradition.
* * Water: Its offered to the spirits to satiate their thirst
* * Salt: Purifies and prevents the body from corruption
* * Candles: Mean light, faith and hope
* * Incense: Drives away evil spirits
* * Flowers: Zempoalxóchitl (yellow flowers, very typical for this season) means richness and guidance for the dead people to their houses. There is a believe that in the past they were used to cure, preserve life and move away death.
* * Toys: These are for the souls of little boys or girls.
* * Bread: Actually called “pan de muerto” (bread of dead), it’s to share with dead people
* * Food: It’s for souls, so they can remember and enjoy the food they used to eat when they were alive. Some people, who have tried the food after November 2nd told me, that the food doesn’t have the same flavor anymore, which means that the souls really come and in a way take the essence of the food. Personally I don’t eat the food after this day… 🙂
* * My ofrenda has 3 floors because I read the first floor is for Father, the second for the Son and the third floor for the Holy Spirit.
* * One element is missing, something like a carpet named “petate” it should be in the 3rd. floor and it’s a place to rest for the souls, after a long way to come to visit our houses.
I thank T.T. for this insight into a personal celebration. She has also supplied us with more pictures of the market, where she bought the material for her ofrenda.