In the State of Guerrero, the town of Iguala creates special offerings for those who have died within the year. The altars are called tumbas or tombs and tumbas vivientes or living tombs. These tombs or tumbas are created by the family or by people hired by the family in the main room of the house. The room is transformed into a scene. With cardboard and tissue paper a mountainous and starry sky background is created decorated with green plants or green sawdust. In the foreground, a saint or a cross of carved wood dominates the center. A cardboard image of Jesus Christ, a Dolorosa, or an Angel might also be added. These images stand over a coffin adorned with a picture, the dates of birth and death, and a few words written in memoriam to the deceased. In addition, offerings blessed by the church, a glass of wine, a dish of salt, a rice flour wafer, and water are placed on or near the coffin. These items provide for the spiritual sustenance of the returning soul. The salt offering is not well understood, however, it is thought to purify. Families often use their best quilts to make a bed for the returning soul to rest.

The living tombs or tumbas vivientes add to the special offering described above by hiring people who portray a scene from Christ’s life, such as the Last Supper or the Baptism of Christ. The living tombs are open to the public from 11 to 1 am. Families share offerings of wine, biscuits and bread with visitors.

Link: Day of the Dead in Guerrero

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