Day of The Dead Celebrations in Michoacan (Part 7)

Altar

By Lic. Benjamin Lucas Juarez.

The making of the altar, its size and complexity depends on the tastes of those involved. But if it’s the first year of celebration or if it is a small altar just for family souls are facts that are also taken into account.

It has been said without sufficient grounds that the altar has four levels that correspond with its elements. As it has been explained, each community lives its customs in a particular a way, which allows finding similarities in terms of the use given to certain elements, but there is no single model to follow. There are models where the space of an entire room is used and others that have just a little cross and a small space defined by a mat or petate (Bed roll made out of woven fibers) on the floor where the offering is placed. The best-known altars are those that have an altar-table with ketsï’takua in the frontal an lateral spaces.

One must not forget that a decorated grave constitutes an altar around which the ritual of waiting happens.

Concluding remarks

As it is known, since November 2003, UNESCO declared the Day of the Dead celebration as a Masterpiece of oral and intangible human heritage. It was said that it is “… one of the most important representations of the living heritage of Mexico and the world, and one of the oldest and strongest cultural expressions of indigenous groups in the country.” Making an explicit reference to the indigenous origin of this celebration, we seek to promote this event and its conservation through an informed and respectful approach to manifestations that have a great cultural value for the owners of the tradition but also for humanity.

Finally, the same declaration document warns about the individual and institutional endeavors and tasks “…its aesthetic and cultural dimension must be kept from the growing number of non-indigenous expressions of a commercial nature that tend to affect its intangible content.”

Image credits: Prácticas comunicacionales

 

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