Snapguide

How to make a day of the dead altar (día de muertos)

Make a Day of the Dead Altar (Día De Muertos)

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The altars are a way to celebrate death and invite our deceased loved ones to spend an evening with us back on this realm.

We lure them with the drink and food they loved, the scent of flowers and incense.

Start with the base. Three layers are great, but you can also make 7!

Start with the base. Three layers are great, but you can also make 7!

Start adding the elements to your altar.

Start adding the elements to your altar.

Fruit and bread are important elements of the altar.

Fruit and bread are important elements of the altar.

Salt and...

Salt and...

...water symbolize the purification of the spirit.

...water symbolize the purification of the spirit.

Skulls represent death.

Skulls represent death.

Add drinks and foods your loved ones enjoy in life.

Add drinks and foods your loved ones enjoy in life.

Add all the elements your deceased most enjoyed.

Add all the elements your deceased most enjoyed.

Traditional sweets and candy are essential!

Traditional sweets and candy are essential!

Pan de Muertos, or bread of the dead, is one of the main elements of the altar.

Pan de Muertos, or bread of the dead, is one of the main elements of the altar.

Usually altars are done to one person in particular, but you can include several loved ones too :)

Usually altars are done to one person in particular, but you can include several loved ones too :)

Copal purifies and attracts the dead with its scent.

Copal purifies and attracts the dead with its scent.

Flowers also attract the dead with their scent.

Flowers also attract the dead with their scent.

There are MANY important elements I'm missing here, if you want to do a really traditional altar, but these will do! Your altar will be beautiful and significant!

  • Tablecloth
  • Boxes, a sofa or anything you can use as a base
  • Marygold flowers (cempasuchil)
  • Religious items important to you
  • Candles
  • Incense (preferably copal)
  • Photos of your dead loved one
  • Items your loved one liked (food drink hobbies)
  • Papel picado (paper cut in decorative ways)
  • Sugar skulls (can be chocolate too)
  • Tangerines
  • Traditional sweets
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Bread of the dead