viernes, 21 de octubre de 2016

Altar de Muertos (“Altars of the Dead”) and its Elements

Making an “Altar to the Dead” or an “Offering of Day of Dead” is a tradition very rooted in Mexico. Pátzcuaro and the Lake Region are noteworthy in this respect, where the celebration of the Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead), was declared by UNESCO an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2003.

Altar to the Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Altar to the Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

This very Mexican tradition, which dates of pre-Hispanic times, is when the deceased come to visit their loved ones who are still alive. The event is celebrated with foods that are necessary to the living, to the gods, and to the souls.  It’s perhaps the most important holiday in the purhépecha (indigenous) community, where it is known as Animecheeri k'uinchekua.

Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

In private homes of all social strata, it is customary to erect an altar to the deceased of the family. Its preparation is varies widely, and is limited only by the creativity of each family. However, there are elements of Day of the Dead altars that some consider indispensable. Elements of an altar of the dead.  

Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

Pick and choose from among the following – and add others to make it more personal for you!

Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

  • Simple woven reed rug on the floor is frequently used to delimit the space of the altar.
  • Table for the elements of the altar.
  • Photograph of the person(s) so whom the altar is dedicated.
  • Flowers, specifically cempasúchil (orange marigolds), are placed on the table and scattered on the rug.
  • Bread, cut or baked in the general form of the deceased, is placed on the table, and may be later eaten by those who wish to pay their respects.
  • Candles are used to illuminate the way of the departed, and orient them as they approach the altar.
  • Water will refresh and purify the spirit after its long journey.
  • Incense will purify the air.
  • Salt will purify the soul.
  • Food will rejuvenate and delight the soul recently arrived!
  • Fruits and Vegetables such as oranges, guayabas, and bananas will also be appreciated.
  • Libations and Cigarettes, as your loved one craved.
  • Games will be enjoyed by the deceased child.
  • Sugar Skulls can be introduced as a way of incorporating a Spanish influence.

Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Altars of Dead in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico


We at Hotel Mansion Iturbe invite you to visit our own altar to Doña Francisca de Iturbe y Anciola, original heiress to this very Mansion Iturbe, and in whose honor we name our restaurant, “Doña Paca.”

Altar of the Dead in honor of Francisca de Iturbe at Hotel Mansion Iturbe
Altar of the Dead in honor of Francisca de Iturbe at Hotel Mansion Iturbe

*Text and pictures property of Hotel Mansión Iturbe.

We invite you to check more articles in our blog, you will find information about Patzcuaro and its surroundings that we hope will help you to plan your next trip to our colonial town in Mexico.

Artisan Exhibition of Night of the Dead in Patzcuaro


Hotel Mansión Iturbe
Portal Morelos 59
Plaza Vasco de Quiroga

61600 Pátzcuaro, Mich.

México


For more information about our Hotel in Patzcuaro

Reservations online at Hotel Mansion Iturbe

Tels: +52 (434) 342 0368 / 342 3628

Fax: +52 (434) 342 3627

Toll Free fax number from USA & CANADA: 1 866 678 6102


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