Crafting ofrendas: A guide to honoring loved ones on Día de los Muertos

Crafting ofrendas: A guide to honoring loved ones on Día de los Muertos

MILWAUKE (CBS 58) -- The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a time when many honor their loved ones who have passed away. Beginning at midnight after Halloween, the holiday is rooted in Mexican tradition, with beliefs that departed souls return on Nov. 1 and 2.

While many are familiar with Halloween decorations, Día de los Muertos introduces Catrinas, which are friendlier-looking Mexican skulls.

An integral part of the celebration is setting up an ofrenda, or offering. To create an ofrenda, a person needs a photo of the deceased, be it a family member or a famous personality, and an item they cherished in life.

For example, if a loved one enjoyed coffee, a cup might be placed on the ofrenda. Montse Ricossa shared that her grandmother and grandfather loved their cats, so she chose an alebrije which serves as a representation of dead animals that can guide the dead back to you...as well as a cat toy.

Celebrated on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and Wednesday, Nov. 2, the holiday reminds us of the natural cycle of life and death. As meteorologist Justin Thompson-Gee noted while creating his ofrenda, it was a form of therapy and remembrance.

Regardless of cultural background, everyone can participate in this positive reflection on mortality. After all, Día de los Muertos is a universal celebration, as the cycle of life is experienced by all.

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