‘Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos 2021’ is now on view at The DIA

Objects important to lost loved ones, such as favorites foods, drinks, mementos and pictures, are collected and incorporated into elaborate displays that include pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sugar skulls, candles, flowers, papel picado (paper cutouts) and other decorations. (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Detroit — The Detroit Institute of Arts presents a new exhibit called “Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos 2021.”

The Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead holiday was originated in Mexico dedicated to honoring loved ones who have died.  It is traditionally celebrated on November 1.  It is usually a celebration rather than a day of mourning.

Aztec marigold flowers are used to decorate with due to its bright color along with favorite food and beverages of the departed.  People usually visit the deceased graves with these special items as gifts.

However, the Día de los Muertos is not only focused on the deceased because it is also common to share gifts of candy skulls and bread with family and friends.

The display at the Detroit Institute of Arts had mementos and letters dedicated to their family member.  It is also tradition to build alters with photos and memorabilia of their loved ones.  These alters are often placed at home or sometimes schools, while others place these alters at the cemetery of the departed one.  Also at the gravesite, people decorate the graves with the aztec orange marigolds.  These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead.

The traditions of the Day of the Dead are not universal, but vary from town to town.  The Detroit Institute of Arts has a great walk-through exhibit on this Mexican holiday which is fascination to see.  The exhibit runs from September 25 through November 7.

The Detroit Insitutute of Arts is located at 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.  The general museum admission if free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

For more info about “Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos 2021”, visit https://www.dia.org/ofrendas2021

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