What are the 7 levels of the Day of the Dead Altar and what do they mean?

This November 1 and 2, the Day of the Dead takes place, where thousands of people will honor their loved ones through an offering.

The Day of the Dead offering is a Mexican tradition that is celebrated from October 31 to November 2, which has levels that give a special meaning.

Each of the 7 levels of the altar of the dead represents the steps that deceased souls must take to rest in peace. However, there are also offerings with two and three levels.

In the case of two-level offerings, their meaning is related to the division of heaven and earth. Meanwhile, the meaning of the three-level offering is that they show heaven, earth and the underworld.

The first level represents the earth and a cross made of salt, ashes or flower petals is placed to protect the altar and mark the four cardinal points.

In the second level, water is placed on this level to quench the thirst of the soul of the deceased after his journey from the afterlife.

For the third level, foods are placed, such as bread of the dead, fruits, tamales and other dishes that the deceased used to like. This represents the earthly food that the deceased used to enjoy.

On the fourth level, objects that represent the wind are placed, such as confetti or colored ribbons. The wind symbolizes the connection between the earthly and spiritual worlds.

Fifth level: Flowers are placed on this level, usually cempasúchil, which is an orange flower that is commonly associated with the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Flowers bring their beauty and fragrance to the altar.

Sixth level: Incense or copal is placed to purify the environment and elevate prayers and thoughts towards heaven.

Seventh level: At the top of the altar, a religious image is placed, such as a figure of the Virgin Mary or some saint, to symbolize divine protection and blessing of the deceased.