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Latinas Are Gearing Up for Día De Los Muertos With The Most Bright And Dreamy Altars We’ve Seen Yet

Día de los Muertos has been celebrated since the days of the Aztecs and for many of us in Latin America, it’s a holiday rife with culture, love, and celebrations for our deceased loved ones. If Día de los Muertos has grown in popularity, the tradition of building ofrendas to our deceased loved ones has exploded completely. 

Ofrendas— or offerings— are ritualistic shrines that honor deceased loved ones. While usually bold and sentimental, ofrendas can take on any shape or size. Highly personalized for each loved one, the shrines typically feature things an ancestor loved in their life on earth. Each ofrenda is unique and beautifully embodies the spirit of Día de Los Muertos. 

As you gear up to prep your own ofrendas this year, these nine alters from across Latin America will blow you away with their beauty and consideration for the ones who have left us behind.

1. This lively Ofrenda filled with love, light, and color.

It’s not uncommon for ofrendas to feature candy skulls and marigolds. Dia de Los Muertos altar decorations typically include marigolds of some sort, whether they are handcrafted or bought fresh. Legends cite marigolds as a sort of pathway for the dead during their visits to the living during celebrations, guiding their spirts to their altars with their vibrant colors and beautiful scent.

2. An outdoor altar made of love and light for those on their otherworldly journey.

What better way to lead your ancestors to your ofrenda than by incorporating a string of lights that will capture their attention and fill their hearts? This year consider decorating your altar with scattered brilliant marigolds and strings of fairy lights.

3. The Ofrenda that embraces La Virgen de Guadalupe.

In order to incorporate Aztec and Catholic beliefs, many ofrendas feature Christian iconography. La Virgin of Guadalupe, also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, has long been a venerated image of life and motherhood in Latin American countries. Around this time of year, it has become commonplace for cultures to embrace the darker and scarier stories of their cultures and histories, and as sinister as Dia de Los Muertos may appear to the onlooker, images of La Virgin on altar often prove it’s the holiday is much more about the celebration of life and our ancestors than it is about embracing the more menacing aspects of what some believe death to possess. 

4. The ofrenda loaded with colores y flores and all of the family.

When it comes to mourning the dead, we don’t always consider honoring the animals and pets that touched our lives so dearly during the time that they lived with us. This year, consider taking a few hints from the Instagrammer above who made sure to include photos of the people and pets that have left her in this life.

5. This ofrenda celebrating those who came and left before us.

Ofrenda competitions have become common in communities that celebrate Día de los Muertosx.

6. An angelic ofrenda full of offerings.

This dreamy ofrenda does its best to attract the deceased with an angelic setting. With lace, white candles, and roses and marigolds of primarily white and pink colors, this ofrenda looks like a daydream rather than an ode to the dead. Left to nourish those on the other side, fresh fruit is often added to ofrendas. 

7. An ofrenda in progress.  

Many household ofrendas are built over the course of several days. More details are added to the altar up until Día de los Muertos.

8. An altar that got creative with cempasuchitl petals.

Cempasuchitl, or Aztec marigolds, signal the departed spirits to their ofrendas. If you’re a DIYer with an eye for detail, designing an ofrenda with marigold petals might be a fun way for you to go. 

9. This massive Puebla ofrenda.

Día de los Muertos has become such a widespread holiday that public areas— like restaurants and shops— often build ofrendas of their own. Public ofrendas often incorporate the natural elements as well as decorations and they can be any size and incorporates the natural elements as well as decorations. This gorgeous ofrenda filled with flowers, plants, and fruit is several feet long and is an example of unique ways to use fruits to toast young ones. 


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Get Some Ofrenda Inspo with These Altars Honoring Our Ancestors for Día de los Muertos

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Get Some Ofrenda Inspo with These Altars Honoring Our Ancestors for Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos has been celebrated since the days of the Aztecs. It’s Indigenous roots are still strong. However, the holiday has evolved to incorporate Christian imagery as it’s become more mainstream. In fact, the celebration has become extremely popular, with Día de los Muertos parties held all over the world.

Though Día de los Muertos has grown, the tradition of building ofrendas to our deceased loved ones is still going strong.

Ofrendas— or offerings— are ritualistic shrines that honor deceased loved ones. While usually bold and sentimental, ofrendas can take on any shape or size. These shrines are highly personalized for each loved one, too. The shrines feature things an ancestor loved during life. Each ofrenda is unique and beautifully embodies the spirit of Día de los Muertos. Moreover, there’s no one way to build an ofrenda.

Here are twenty gorgeous ofrendas from around the Latinidad.

1. This Ofrenda featuring a giant Catrina.

Credit: voladormexico / Instagram

Ofrendas often feature colorful and vibrant skulls. Whether made of sugar, glass, or paper, these skulls are sugnificant; symbolizing the dead who journey back to the land of the living once a year. The most icon of these skeleton personalities is La Calavera Catrina.

2. An outdoor altar to those on their otherworldly journey.

Credit: sofia_anika / Instagram

Observers of Día de los Muertos believe our loved ones continue life in the spiritual realm. As they enjoy their otherworldly lives, they are separated from the land of the living by a thin veil. On Día de los Muertos, this veil is lifted and loved ones are able to check in on their mortal families. 

3. La Virgen de Guadalupe rests on this ofrenda.

Credit: hou_bou  / Instagram

In order to incorporate Aztec and Catholic beliefs, many ofrendas feature Christian iconography. Día de los Muertos isn’t a Christian festival. However, like with Santeria, ideologies are blended into a unique celebration of beliefs. Statues and images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, angels, santos, and Jesus are often added to alters.

4. Colores y flores

Credit: tizmtz / Instagram

Ofrendas are often extremely colorful. Like this alter, most feature bright papel picado banners and Aztec (or Mexican) marigolds. Whether fresh or made from silk, these flowers are a staple on alters across Latin America. Aztec marigolds are such a staple of Día de los Muertos that children are often taught to make them out of tissue paper to contribute to ofrendas. 

5. This first place ofrenda.

Credit: 67mach1 / Instagram

Ofrenda competitions have become common in communities that celebrate Día de los Muertos. The holiday has become so mainstream that festivals, marathons, parties and art shows are held every year. These events not only honor our ancestors but often introduce new people to the culture and beliefs of the Latinidad. 

6. An ofrenda full of offerings.

Left to tempt those on the other side, fruit is often added to ofrendas. Fresh fruit, artificial fruit, and fruit made from candied marzipan can be found at these alters. These offerings are not necessarily for the dead to eat but are there to lure them to their shrines. 

7. An ofrenda in progress.  

Many household ofrendas are built over the course of several days. More details are added to the altar up until Día de los Muertos. Celebrations for the Day of the Dead can last many days so these shrines are often showcased in homes and the public for several weeks up to the holiday and beyond. 

8. An altar full of cempasuchitl.

Cempasuchitl, or Aztec marigolds, signal the departed spirits to their ofrendas. Like the offerings of food, the Aztec marigolds are meant to attract spirits with their earthly-appeal. The vibrant color and bold perfume of cempasuchitl tempt departed souls just as much as their favorite foods. 

9. This massive Puebla ofrenda.

Ofrendas can be any shape or size. There are some ofrendas that are so massive that they reach towards the heavens. Additionally, ofrendas can be small and portable enough slip in your purse and take with you on the go. This gorgeous ofrenda filled with flowers, plant and fruit is several feet long and filled with alluring offerings.

10. Dedicated to those who died delivering truth and knowledge.  

Besides ofrendas para la familia, Día de los Muertos observes sometimes build shrines to honor specfic deaths. This ofrenda remembers journalists from around the world who died out in the field. Considering the current climate of hostility towards the new media, this ofrenda is especially significant. Unfortunately, alters like this could become more plentiful if this hatred continues. 

11. Pan muerte for los Muertos.

Offerings of food are another staple during Día de los Muertos. To tempt other-worldly sweet tooths, pan muerte is left on ofrendas as a snack for visiting spirits. Left over food that hasn’t gone bad after the festival can be eaten by observers. However, since it has been eaten by the dead in the spirit world, this food is said to have no taste remaining. 

12. An ofrenda for Frida.

Famous figureheads from music, art, media and politics also have shrines built in their honor during Día de los Muertos. The famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo has hundreds of ofrendas dedicated to her every year. Though she has been dead nearly 65 years, she is still remembered in these ofrendas. 

13. Fit for a Prince.

Credit: abc7vista / Instagram

Our communities often build ofrendas to honor favorite celebrities. For example, this one is dedicated to the late musician Prince. The belief is that as long as your picture is on an ofrenda, you are remembered and allowed to visit the land of the living. In the tradition of Día de los Muertos, being forgotten is equal to an absolute death. 

14. In honor of Mexican star Mária Félix.

Credit: alba_aube_baez / Instagram

Mexican film actress and singer Mária Félix was a huge star during the 1940s and 1950s. There’s no doubt that she inspired Latina actresses in a time when Latinx people weren’t considered movie star material. To honor her accomplishments and celebrate her life, fans all over Mexico still make ofrendas to immortalize her.

15. This “Ritzy” display.

Credit: ccritztheatre / Instagram

During Dia de los Muertos, public spaces often feature themed alters to welcome the spirits of famous dead people. Additionaly, spirits don’t have to be from the Latinidad in order to participate in the holiday. For example, this themed ofrenda is dedicated to the stars of Old Hollywood. The spirits of stars like Ingrid Bergman and James Dean just might visit this alter. 

16. A candlelit ofrenda.

Credit: mexicolin / Instagram

In addition to shrines at home, offerings are taken to the grave on the Day of the Dead. Bathed in candlelight, offerings are lit up to attract deceased loved ones during the evening hours. Votive candles and incense are used to send prayers and wishes to spirits. All in all, it makes for a gorgeous sight whether you’re living or one of the dead. 

17. Dedicated to a deceased mother.

Credit: artelexia / Instagram

This ofrenda was a group effort dedicated to a community member’s mother. If a valued community member passes away their neighborhood may build a public offering. Clearly, these public representations of love and remembrance can be just as important for the living as they are for the deceased.

18. This hauntingly beautiful public ofrenda.

Credit: miriamsalgado78 / Instagram

Día de los Muertos has become such a widespread holiday that public areas— like restaurants and shops— often build ofrendas of their own. Huge installations often welcome additions of pictures, food or items to their own alters. Don’t worry if a deceased person appears on more than one ofrend. Undoubtedly, spirits are able to visit all offerings calling to them.

19. A natural offering.

Public ofrendas often incorporate the natural elements into their alter in addition to decorations. In many ways, these ofrendas are a merger of the spiritual and the natural. Natural stone and metals, plants, succulents, native flowers and animal imagery were important details in the artwork of the Aztecs. 

20. An ofrenda that says “Recuérdame.”

Extremely elaborate ofrendas can take weeks of planning and execution. For example, this one shows a beautiful dedication to honoring a loved one. Moreover, with its skulls, food, candles, papel picado, Aztec marigolds and Catholic imagery, this ofrenda has very component typical of these shrines to our dead. 


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