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Day of the Dead in Sonora
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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El día de los muertes

LOS ALTARES (The Altars)

El día de los muertes (Day of Dead) follows « el día de los santos » (Day of all Saints). It occurs on November.

preparation of the Day of the DeadTraditionally, the families go to the cemetery with flowers and ornaments to adorn the tombs of their deceased family members. They also get together for a convivial and joyful family diner. They also go to the roads where crosses mark the places where their fathers, brothers or husbands were killed in a car or truck accident. Alcohol is often the reason of the accidents. Mexican, especially low classes, drink a lot of beer. That causes many accidents.

Left picture : preparation of the Day of the Dead

The altars contribute to perpetrate the tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead but this tradition is not anymore on in the families.

However, in the schools, in order to preserve these customs for the new generation, the students are invited to realize an altar for a deceased friend, classmate or personality.

Every altar is unique and comprises three levels.




A half dead half woman faceThe first level or higher floor is dedicated to designate the person. There is a picture of the deceased, which is decorated in order to remember the deceased in his lifetime. Personal objects, clothes, shoes items he loved and preserved souvenirs are laid in this level as well as candles and « calaveras » (sugar skulls).

The second level is reserved to bring the deceased to his life in the other world. The family prepares ingredients (tortillas, tequila, beer...) with bread, salt, fruits as well as cooked dishes such as mole or pozole, traditional Mexican dishes made of corn cooked in chalk. There is also water to pour out the thirst of the deceased.

   Right picture : A half dead half woman face



day of the DeadThe third level remains a trail that leads the deceased to his life in the other world. Candles are set to guide him with light to the altar. There is also wood, coal, a brasero or there stones set like to set a fire.

day of the Dead

Left and right pictures : day of the Dead







    Report and photos made by Marie Resplandy : afg_sonora@hotmail.com




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