Day of the Dead Altars

  • 01 of 12

    Arch Altar

    Day of the Dead altar
    Suzanne Barbezat

    Offerings and Altars for Día de Muertos

    One of the traditions around Day of the Dead in Mexico involves making an altar or offering for the spirits who will return on this occasion. This photo gallery contains photos of a variety of Mexican Day of the the Dead altars.

    Find out how to make your own Day of the Dead altar, or if you've already made one, please tell us about it and share a photo.

    I like the elaborate arch on this Day of the Dead altar.

    Continue to 2 of 12 below.
  • 02 of 12

    Altar with Pan de Muerto

    Day of the Dead Altar with Pan de Muerto
    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar has special pan de muertos (Day of the Dead bread) in a vaguely human shape in different sizes, and colorful cempasuchitl flowers.

    This altar was in a display of Day of the Dead altars that took place in the Oaxaca City Zocalo.

    Continue to 3 of 12 below.
  • 03 of 12

    Cuicatlan Altar

    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar was made by representatives of Cuicatlan, in the Cañada region of Oaxaca. The altar is dedicated to Doña Beatriz, apparently a curandera (healer) from the community.

    Continue to 4 of 12 below.
  • 04 of 12

    Altar with Petate

    Altar with Petate
    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar is one of my favorites. A petate (straw mat) is hanging on the wall behind it, with photos attached. Nanche fruit are decoratively strung along the front of the table. The baskets and clay pots add a nice touch too.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Flowers Altar

    Day of the Dead altar with flowers
    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar has lots of flowers in it - the orange cempasuchitl and the purplish red cockscomb make a nice combination.

    Continue to 6 of 12 below.
  • 06 of 12

    Handicraft Shop Altar

    Day of the Dead altar in a handicraft shop
    Suzanne Barbezat

    Day of the Dead altars are set up in businesses as well as family homes. This is an altar that was on display in a handicraft shop.

    Continue to 7 of 12 below.
  • 07 of 12

    Hanging Skulls Altar

    Suzanne Barbezat

    Each of the skulls hanging from the arch has a name written on it. The flower petals on the floor are placed to make the shape of la Virgen de la Soledad, our Lady of Solitude.

    Continue to 8 of 12 below.
  • 08 of 12

    Three-tiered Altar

    Day of the Dead altar with three tiers
    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar has three tiers. Papel picado and bandanas were used as decoration.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    In front of the altar

    Incense burner in front of the altar
    Suzanne Barbezat

    This is a view of the floor in front of the previous altar. Note the pieces of sugar cane placed in the form of a star, and the burner for copal incense.

    Continue to 10 of 12 below.
  • 10 of 12

    Altar with Chickens

    Day of the Dead altar with chickens
    Suzanne Barbezat

    Look carefully at the arch. There are bananas hanging there and... chickens.

    Continue to 11 of 12 below.
  • 11 of 12

    Frida Kahlo Tapestry Altar

    Suzanne Barbezat

    This altar was sponsored by the organization Mujeres Unidas A.C. from the village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Frida Kahlo is pictured in the tapestry hanging at the back of the altar.

    My favorite thing about this altar is the miniature band procession on the bottom left.

    Continue to 12 of 12 below.
  • 12 of 12

    An elegant altar

    Benito Hernández

    This altar looks very polished. The dark purple tablecloth contrasts nicely with the orange cempasuchitl flowers.