Marigold Offerings

Families will often decorate the tombs with tapetes of flowers, making a painting usually with a religious theme created entirely of whole marigold flowers, marigold petals, and flower buds.

Families will work for most of the afternoon of October  31  preparing the graves .
In the evening they will have a traditional meal with bread and chocolate  as the lady of the house  mixes chocolate, almond, and canela  (cinnamon) with a wooden mixer.

After dinner they will go to the cemetery to finish decorating the grave and to sit for the night vigil of waiting for the return of the spirits.

Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
Marigold of the domestic variety replaces the wild version in the more prosperous cities and villages, These will come to the markets by the ton.
Families use many other flowers to decorate the tombs and graves but the
marigold has special significance and usually is prominently displayed.  
On the
last night of October and the first night of November, the cemetery vigils take place.
in Oaxaca.  The all-night vigil at the graves and tombs is a candle-lit spectacle not to be missed.

Marigold, Day Of The Dead Flowers,  Oaxaca, Mexico

Marigold the Day of the Dead Flowers used in building offerings
Marigold is the Day Of The Dead Flower used in offerings to the spirits during the Day of the Dead observance.
Marigolds are part of the tomb gifts for the spirits
and often strewn as petals on the ground to guide
the spirit to the house and tombs.

Marigold Flower Celebrates The Day Of The Dead In Mexico

Marigold is the important flower used in celebrating the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca and throughout Mexico.

In the remote villages, the people use a wild version of the Marigold.  It flowers in October and is plentiful in the fields.  
In Oaxaca the indigenous people call the flower Cempasuchitl in the Nahuatl language (Aztec)
The Spanish name for the flower, Flor de muerto, means flower of death.

Marigold guides the spirit to the offering

Marigold,  The Day of the Dead Flower

The people of remote villages having meager means to buy the cultivated Marigold, will harvest the wild plant and use it to construct their offerings.  (Ofrenda, an altar of sorts with gifts for the dead)  They will  remove the petals from the flower and spread them on the ground to make a path to the house and to the grave.  The pungent aroma of the marigold and the bright color of the yellow petals will guide the spirit to the home altar (ofrenda) and to the cemetery.  
The family will prepare a table on the home and decorate it with Marigold, jicama, sugar cane, and many other fruits and nuts.  They will bake or buy special bread for bread and then they will go to the graveyards where  they have cleaned and decorated the cemetery plot.  They will then sit during the night and wait for the return of the spirits. They hope that the path of pungent marigold petals will guide the returning spirit.

Marigold Tapestries

The marigold is the most important flower In this three-day annual festival of honoring the spirits at graveside.   Families will gather at the home or cemetery during the afternoon of October 31 to begin preparing the decorations.  Often they will remove the Marigold flower from its stem and use the whole flower to create a tapestry.  Other times they will break the flower apart and create a painting with it or create a path to the offering as seen below.

Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
Marigold the Day of the Dead Flower
In the city and more affluent towns, tons of domesticated and cultivated marigold flowers decorate the graveyards.  The people go to the cemetery at night and  hold a cemetery vigil by candlelight at the tombs and grave sites which they have decorated with marigold flowers.
Each village celebrates in a different way, some at a different time but they all are spectacular. More so perhaps when you visit a village and see that all the paintings that decorate the tombs are done entirely with the petals of the Marigold flower.
Cempoalxochitl is the Nauhatl (Aztec) name for the wild marigold growing in Mexico.    The plant is called Tagetes Erecta in horticultural lists.  The tradition states that the Aztecs used the plant medicinally and cultivated it for other uses.  In Oaxaca the plant grows wild in the fields as a weed.  The local name is Cempasuchitl.  (wikpedia Excerpt)
Candles and Marigold flowers decorate the cemeteries
Marigold, the traditional  Day Of The Dead Flower, is used with other flowers to decorate in Oaxaca, Mexico during the October/November festival
Marigold the Day Of The Dead Flowers decorate an offering in  Oaxaca, Mexico
Marigold, Day Of The Dead Flowers,  decorate the graves in Oaxaca, Mexico
Marigold along with bread and chocalate is used to decorate the home altars and the tombs.
Chocolate is also an important part of the Day Of The Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Along with the marigold flower and special breads, chocolate will decorate the home offering table.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead
Oaxaca day of the Dead
More Marigold Photos, Day Of The Dead Pages, Marigold In Oaxaca
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