ArtStart and Spanish students construct traditional Mexican altar
Members of the Spanish Program at Nicolet College and ArtStart volunteers constructed a typical Mexican Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda (Day of the Dead Family Altar) which will be on display at ArtStart in Rhinelander through Nov. 9.
In Mexico, All Souls Day is honored during “the days of the dead” and is celebrated joyfully and colorfully. In the home an altar is made with an offering of food upon it.
It is believed that the dead partake of the food in spirit, and the living eat it later. The ofrendas (offerings) are arranged with flowers such as marigolds (zempaschitl) which are the traditional flowers of the dead.
There is a candle placed for each dead soul, and these are adorned in some manner. Incense is also often used and mementoes, photos and other remembrances of the dead also adorn the ofrenda.
Mexicans make a special bread just for this day, pan de muerto, which is sometimes baked with a toy skeleton inside. The one who finds the skeleton will have “good luck”. This bread is eaten during picnics at the graves of the dead along with tamales, cookies and chocolate