Mexican Day of the Dead Altar Nov 09

Mexican Day of the Dead

Mexican Day of the Dead

Mexico's Day of the Dead Celebrations

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd, is a celebration in which Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. Though it may sound gloomy or morbid, it's not. It's a festive and colorful holiday.

Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there - in the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make elaborately decorated altars (sometimes called ofrendas) in their homes to welcome the spirits.

Day of the Dead Altars

The spirits are greeted with offerings of food and things that the person enjoyed in life. These are laid out on a Day of the Dead altar in the family home. It is believed that the spirits consume the essence and the aroma of the foods that are offered. When the spirits depart, the living consume the food and share it with their family, friends and neighbors.

Other items that are placed on the altar include sugar skulls, often with the person's name inscribed on the top, pan de muertos, a special bread that is made especially for the season, and cempasuchil (marigolds) which bloom at this time of year and lend a special fragrance to the altar.

See below for some photos of our own Mexican Day of the Dead Altar, which was displayed at the entrance to the O'Rahilly Building this year. We would like to extend our thanks to UCC Mexican students Georgina Moreno, Rocío Guadalupe Castillo Godina and Darío Iker Téllez Medina and for the support from Victoria Manuel Delgado for giving generously of their time in order to set up the altar and for carefully assembling the offerings.

Centre for Mexican Studies

Room 1.51, First Floor - Block B East, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork Ireland