Day of the Dead altars are appearing this week in preparation for the annual celebration but none is bigger than that of Pachuca, capital city of the state of Hidalgo.
The 767-square-meter altar, which has seven different levels, has been named the biggest Day of the Dead altar in the world, setting a new Guinness record.
The previous record was held by an altar measuring 558 square meters that was created in 2014 in Mexico City’s Plaza México.
The half-million-peso project (about US $26 million) was the result of collaboration of local and state governments and volunteers, including vendors from Pachuca’s main wholesale market and students and artisans from neighboring Acaxochitlán.
It was the latter that contributed a meticulously crafted carpet, a symbol intended to guide the souls of the dead on their path toward the altar.
While the carpet, which required 100 sacks of colored sawdust to make, could be considered the centerpiece in any other circumstance, the altar to which it leads certainly captures the eye.
It was created with 400 kilograms of oranges, 10 kilos of peanuts, 100 kilos of guavas, 400 kilos of bananas and 20 kilos each of corn, pumpkins and tejocote, or Mexican hawthorne.
On Saturday, Guinness World Records adjudicator Carlos Tapia Rojas verified that the ofrenda, as the altar is called in Spanish, complied with all the necessary traditional elements.
The altar will be on display until next Sunday and local authorities expect that some 100,000 people will visit to admire it and enjoy the staple dishes and beverages of the Day of the Dead celebrations, such as mole sauce, tamales and hot chocolate.
The Day of the Dead was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008.
The celebration begins tomorrow and finishes Thursday.
Source: El Universal (sp)