As part of Montréal’s Latin American Heritage Month, we invite you to discover our Day of the Dead (𝗗𝗶́𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀) event, you can also view our series of videos and exhibits featuring the altars that honour the cycle of life and death for which this tradition is dedicated. This initiative also promotes local Montreal artists and musicians. We invite you to discover this Mexican holiday which is declared as part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by Unesco.
Watch our videos and discover how Montréal artists honour life and death.
The Mexican families have set up altars to share with the greater Montreal family tradition recognized as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Each altar offers new discoveries!
A QR code helps to find the locations of the neighbourhood residents who participate in this custom 𝗙𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗗𝗲𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀#.
# ParcoursFêteDeMorts #NDG from October 30 to November 7, 2020
🌸Visit the altars of the dead! #parcoursDiaDeMuertosNDG!
🧡Find the QR code that will bring you into the artistic and magical world of the Feast of the Dead at #NDG #Montreal.
💀4 postcard templates were distributed to each participating exchange.
Thank you very much to Claudia for her support and collaboration during all our editions of the Day of the Dead NDG.
𝗔𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗱❜𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘀 𝗽𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗮 𝗙𝗲̂𝘁𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀 🏵💀 🏵 | Altars presented at Cafe92
Created by Grade 6 primary school students from the Michèle-Provost Academy
Following our workshop to craft an altar inspired by the Mexican tradition of 𝗝𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀, Grade 6 primary school students from the Michèle-Provost Academy shared their creation with us.
Special thanks to 𝗠. 𝗙𝗿𝗲́𝗱𝗲́𝗿𝗶𝗰 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲, 6th Grade teacher.
𝗘𝗻 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗮̀ 𝗢𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿 𝗖𝗵𝗮́𝘃𝗲𝘇 ♥️
Altar presented at Sandrini Confections
A creation by the Hernández-Guerrero family
altars of 𝗗𝗶𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀 (𝗝𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀) are sometimes dedicated to public figures to honour their heritage and celebrate their lives. The 𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮́𝗻𝗱𝗲𝘇 𝗚𝘂𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗿𝗼 family created this altar to pay homage to 𝗢𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿 𝗖𝗵𝗮́𝘃𝗲𝘇 (March 20, 1935 – April 30, 2020), a great Mexican singer and songwriter. This artist, known primarily for his social activism through music, died of COVID-19.
This altar was made entirely with bread (migajón de pan) and includes traditional dishes like mole, tamales, “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead) and fruit. Colourful “papel picado” (perforated paper), sugar calaveras (skulls) and cempasúchil flowers help us turn grief into a celebration of life. Other items, such as the guitar, stool and microphone, as well as the glass of tequila, are offerings for the singer 𝗢𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿 𝗖𝗵𝗮́𝘃𝗲𝘇.
𝗔̀ 𝗻𝗼𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲̂𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘀♥️
Altar presented at Métèque
Created by Julieta Maria, Erika and Eleazar.
For 𝗝𝘂𝗹𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗮, 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮, 𝗘𝗿𝗶𝗸𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘇𝗮𝗿 the celebration of 𝗗𝗶𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀 (Day of the Dead) is a way of remembering their ancestors, who were born more than 100 years ago. The altar allows them to tell their story to the younger generation, and the ability to teach their children where they come from.
The flower cempasúchil, candles, glass of water and salt are symbolic elements which guide and purify the spirits of the beloved and help them to cross the threshold between the worlds. The “pan de muerto” and the sugar calaveras, for their part, symbolize the proximity of death and life, as well as the importance of food and joy. The clay dog is a “xoloitzcuintle”, which according to pre-Hispanic tradition is believed to guide spirits to the afterlife, also known as “Mictlán”.
𝗣𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝘃𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗿 𝗱𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀-𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀… ♥️ | Autel présenté à La Meunerie Urbaine
A creation of Abigail and her family
𝗔𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗹 and her family made this altar by hand to pay homage to their grandparents. This is a model that we would install at home during the celebration of the Day of the Dead (𝗗𝗶́𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀).
The arch of cempasúchil flowers symbolizes the threshold between this world and the hereafter and guides the spirits to the house on the night of November 1. A two-tiered altar, like this one, symbolizes heaven and earth.
It features photos of loved ones who have passed away alongside some of their belongings, as well as their favourite foods, such as tamales, fruit, candy, chocolate and pumpkin.
𝗔𝘂𝘅 𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗱𝗲 𝗹𝗮 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲́𝗺𝗶𝗲
Altar presented at Élémentaire Café
𝗟𝘂𝗰𝘆 𝗦𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗼 𝗲𝘁 𝗝𝗳 𝗝𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗹 share this altar to honour the memory of COVID-19 victims around the world. Making an altar is a way to experience grief and face the present. While some altars exhibit the intimate and personal characteristics of traditional offerings, others maximize their symbolic potential to tell particular stories, either current or political.
This altar was made in the traditional style of Jalisco. The colourful papel picado alludes to the wind, while the cempasúchil flowers and candles guide souls on their journey to the afterlife. Other elements, like calaveras, remind us of the close relationship we have with death and to humanize our fears.
𝗔𝘂𝘅 𝗲𝗻𝗳𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗱e la 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 |Altar presented at Le Cheese Truck
𝗔𝗹𝗲𝗷𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗮 𝗱𝗲𝗹 𝗩𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲, de
𝗟𝗮 𝗟𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹, shares this altar
dedicated to the memory of children victims of
Celebrating 𝗗𝗶́𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀 is a way
to mourn the loss of those who have passed away too soon. In
addition to traditional flowers cempasúchil, altars
dedicated to children include toys as gifts for them to play, as well as sweets and
food to welcome them in our
The candles and the use of white symbolizes innocence and their purity of mind, while the light guides them as they return home.
𝗔̀ 𝗺𝗮 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱-𝗺𝗲̀𝗿𝗲 ♥️ | Altar presented at Club Voyages Selectour
Created by Vanessa Árcega
The symbolic power of objects is an important element in the #celebration of 𝗗𝗶́𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀 (Day of the Dead). 𝗩𝗮𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮 𝗔́𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗴𝗮 wanted to pay tribute to the memory of Bertha Pérez Rangel, her grandmother, who loved to make clothes. So she decided to add to her altar a small sewing basket with threads and ribbons.
The style of this altar represents the province of 𝗣𝘂𝗲𝗯𝗹𝗮. Cempasúchil flowers and candles show souls the way, while water and salt purify them on their journey.
Other types of figures, such as calaveras (skulls), remind us of the proximity of life and death. The Day of the Dead is joyful, and for this reason it is important to “spoil” the deceased with the things they enjoyed during their lifetime, such as chocolate, fruit and candy.
𝗨𝗻 𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗹 𝗺𝗲́𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 ♥️ | Altar on display at Westhaven Community Center
A creation of the Padilla family
A 𝗗𝗶́𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝘀 altar is also a way to connect our past and present. Through the making of the altar, families come together and new generations can learn where they came from.
This is the case with 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲 𝗣𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗮. As newcomers to Canada, making the altar together has been a way to connect with their Mexican roots. For this family who lives far from Mexico, the altar has become a way to reconnect with their traditions and to process the nostalgia felt for their culture.
The symbolic elements found in the altar are flowers and candles (cempasúchil) that guide the spirits. Water, a symbol of life, purifies them, while food allows them to restore themselves after a long journey.
𝗔̀ 𝗹𝗮 𝗺𝗲́𝗺𝗼𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗲 𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀-𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 ♥️
Altar presented at Che Churro.
Created by Diana Luna Luna and Nicolas Laurin
For 𝗗𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗮, this altar is a way to connect with her grandparents. Diana’s four grandparents arrived in Mexico as refugees from the Spanish Civil War. The altar is also a way to tell their story to the next generation.
The 𝗝𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀 is therefore a day to say “welcome” to them and to give them as offerings such as the things they appreciated the most when they were with us: a bottle of Brandy for Wenceslao Luna Zaldívar and a photo of Madrid for Francisca Husillos Cantalapiedra. While waiting for Diana’s maternal grandparents, a small shell is left on the altar for Laureano Poza Juncalé, as he loved the sea so much. There is also a special place dedicated to Eliza Díaz Riva, with a good chocolate. 𝗗𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗮 𝗲𝘁 𝗡𝗶𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘀 pay tribute to their sweet cat Tammy, depicted by a small coloured box.
The altars to the dead will be present in some shop partners of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce