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This article is about the offerings used during rituals. For the Lila Downs album, see Ofrenda (album).

An ofrenda (Spanish: "offering") is a collection of objects placed on a ritual altar during the annual and traditionally Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebration. An ofrenda, which may be quite large and elaborate, is usually created for an individual person who has died and is intended to welcome him/her to the altar setting. Most ofrendas contain three levels or tiers: on the topmost tier are placed photographs of the deceased and/or images of various saints which are positioned in a retablo which forms the back of the altar;[1] on the second tier are placed food items including such things as mole, candy, pan dulce, and especially a sweetbread called pan de muerto, as well as bottles or poured shot glasses of tequila or mezcal; on the bottom-most tier are placed item such as lit candles, a washbasin, mirror, soap, and a towel so that the supposed spirit of the deceased see themselves and can refresh themselves upon arrival at the altar. Ofrendas are constructed in the home as well as in village cemeteries and churches.[2]


  1. ^ Davíd Carrasco; Scott Sessions (31 July 2011). Daily Life of the Aztecs. ABC-CLIO. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-313-37744-0. 
  2. ^ Maria Herrera-Sobek (31 July 2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore. ABC-CLIO. p. 406. ISBN 978-0-313-34340-7.