Carina about the Day of the dead

At the Institute for Housing and Development Studies, I saw this beautiful ‘ofrenda’ created by Mexican students and it put a smile on my face.

Carina Bravo Plancarte, Recruitment Manager, Rotterdam School of Management

Day of the dead, or Dia de Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday that focuses on gathering and praying for and remembering those who have died and support their spiritual journey. It is celebrated by creating altars (‘ofrenda’) for the dead and offering food.

Carina: On 2 November, in Mexico we celebrate the Day of the Dead. On this special day, we commemorate our loved ones who are no longer among us. The days before, we create altars with their favourite drinks (Tequila) and food, we display their pictures and decorate the altar with bright colours using orange flowers: Flor de Cempasuchil. We bake special (sweet) bread, called the bread of the dead.

Every year, my Dad puts a lot of effort into creating La Catrina, a skeleton dressed in a fancy dress and a hat. When Mexico was conquered by the Spanish, the native inhabitants of Mexico wanted to look like their occupants, but couldn’t really afford to do so. So a painter invented La Catrina, a skeleton dressed up in Western style of dress and a high hat.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fly home to my parents last year but I went to IHS on 2 November. Much to my surprise, I saw this beautiful 'ofrenda' (altar) created by Mexican students and it put a smile to my face. It also made me realise that I should start celebrating the Day of the Dead in my own home so that I can pass on the tradition. 


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