Interview with Brenda Nicolas about the Day of the Dead traditions in Oaxaca.
The welcoming back of the spirits is observed in households with the creation of ofrendas. The quality and degree of ornamentation of the ofrendas depend on regional traditions, family and individual wealth, recent deaths, or the year’s harvest. On the ofrenda, the main objects are symbolic of life’s elements: water, wind, fire, and earth. Water is served in a clay pitcher or glass to quench the spirit’s thirst from their long journey. Fire is signified by the candles that are lit. Wind is signified by papel picado (tissue paper cut-outs). The earth element is represented by food, usually pan de muerto (bread of the dead). Other offerings include mole, fruit, chocolate, atole, toys, calaveritas de azúcar, and Copal incense.