Ofrenda at MLK Library Celebrates Día de Muertos

Ofrenda at MLK Library Celebrates Día de Muertos
Posted on 10/30/2020
If you stop by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (MLK), you’ll see a special Dia de los Muertos ofrenda created by our staff.  In Latinx tradition, Dia de los Muertos, observed Nov. 1 - 2, celebrates the life, memories and experiences of those who have passed away. The ofrenda is a richly colored altar steeped in symbolism, including personal touches from our MLK staff.

The ofrenda symbolizes a journey for the spirits of the dead.  Some ofrendas will have a pathway of marigold petals leading up to its base, forming a pathway for the spirits, so they can find their way to their family’s altar.  Each tier of the MLK ofrenda represents a step on the spiritual journey, beginning with Purgatory at the bottom. On the next step you’ll find images of various saints that had special meaning in life to those have passed.  You’ll also find sweet treats and favorite foods or drinks of the deceased on the steps of the ofrenda. Our staff member Marta shared that she places chicken noodle soup on her ofrenda at home in honor and celebration of many wonderful memories with her grandmother. 

On a step above the food you’ll find photos and pictures of the family members remembered each year. You may also find favorite toys or other items that held special meaning to those who have died. In this way, the living can honor the memories of those who have gone before and celebrate the times they shared together in life. The MLK ofrenda holds photographs of our staff member Israel’s parents and his wife’s uncle, and we’re honored that Israel and his wife have shared their family with us.

Throughout the ofrenda you may also notice salt, candles and fantastical creatures called alebrijes.  The salt is sprinkled to purify the spirit on its journey, while the candles light the way, and alebrijes (spirit animals) help guide the souls of the departed back to heaven. The final tier, at the top of the ofrenda, is the Virgin Mary, who guides the departed through the arch and back to heaven after their journey to visit their living families.

To learn more about Dia de los Muertos, stop by the MLK library to see the beautiful ofrenda and ask staff your questions. Or, if you’re unable to visit, Ask a Librarian, and we can find just the right books for you!

ofrenda at MLK
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