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Ofrendas

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Uploaded on May 29, 2007

This video is compiled of ofrendas in Taxco and Cuernavaca.

The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) originated in Mexico and is still celebrated there as a national holiday. The Day of the Dead is usually celebrated on November 1st or 2nd, and while it may seem like a morbid event to outsiders, those who participate in it view it as a joyful occasion, a time to honor the memory of their ancestors and the lives of the deceased.

The Day of the Dead is a celebration seeped in tradition and symbols. The ofrenda is one such tradition that remains a pivotal part of the day's festivities. The Spanish word "ofrenda" translates as "offering", and ofrendas resemble alters or shrines which are dedicated to the dead. They are usually set up in homes and are left out as a welcoming gesture for the deceased, whose yearly visits to the living occur on this night.

Ofrendas are come in many shapes and sizes, from simple presentations to elaborate spreads. They are usually prepared on a table which has been covered by a fine, white tablecloth. Tissue paper with designs cut into it, called papel picado, are then set over the cloth.

There are many components to ofrendas. For each deceased relative, a candle is set out and lit so that the light can guide the spirits on their way back to earth. Flowers are also placed on the ofrenda, to represent the ephemeral quality of life. Salt and water quench the thirst of the souls and water purifies and cleanses them.

One of the most important parts of the ofrendas are the elaborate spreads of food that are laid out. While the spirits do not eat the food, they are believed to get great enjoyment from the delicious aromas.

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