An ofrenda (Spanish: "offering") is a home altar with a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during the annual and traditionally Mexican Día de Muertos celebration.
We celebrate 'Dia De Los Muertos,' which commemorate those meaningful people and animals that have passed. We celebrate their spirits and their souls and everything we love about them! We build alters, with offerings, to reminisce and guide their souls between the world of the living and the dead.
So ~ what does a magical 'Ofrenda' have?
1. Love - you can't make an Ofrenda without celebrating those you loved. If you start with those intentions, you can't go wrong.
2. Layers - I read about this on the internet, but it's true! Having several layers represent different elements (earth and sky) but also different realms (living and dead).
3. Marigolds or 'Cempasüchil' -- These gorgeous orange/golden flowers' pungent smell are said to guide the decease's spirits to their offerings. They instantly bring happiness and magic to the alter so I kind of went heavy on the marigolds :) What can I say? I love me some flowers.
4. Sugar Skulls -- It may seem morbid until they are decorated in such bright and vibrant colors. Sugar skulls represents the departed souls. Sometimes you will even see names etched on them.
5. Papel Picado -- This is a traditional and colorful decoration used in many celebrations. So, of course it has it's place here too. I used a skull paper picado and it turns out that this is very common. Usually you will see skeletons or Caracas dancing as a representation of their happy, free soul.
6. Photographs -- Probably the most important element!! Photographs of those that you love that have departed. We must remember them, year after year, and what better way than by physically seeing their presence on our alters.
7. Food -- Of course, food is a big part of our culture. And we like lots of it! So, don't forget celebratory food like tamales, pan de polvo, pan de Muertos, etc. Of course, we put Felizsta cookies. But ~ you should also really focus on your loved ones favorites foods, whatever those might've been!
8. Offerings -- Any other offerings like mementos, incense, jewelry, etc. Here's where I say you can really be creative. I've put some local handmade ceramics and ethically harvested Palo Santo from Peru.
9. Candles -- The warmth and light of the flames will guide the spirits back home.
I hope you enjoy making your ofrenda and honoring your loved ones as I have.
Feliz dia de los Muertos!