Ofrendas: Altar-making Traditions in the Mexican Days of the Dead and Art Therapy Applications for Grief and Bereavement
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Degree Granting Institution
Notre Dame de Namur University
The creation of ofrendas, or altars, in the Mexican Days of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos), comes from a very old tradition of remembering and honoring the deceased and includes customs, rituals and art expressions which can be adapted cross-culturally as therapeutic interventions to help heal the grief of loss and bereavement. This heuristic study evaluates the core meanings of the phenomenon of altar-making as experienced and reported by ten co-researchers. Two males and eight females were selected as coresearchers based on their having created altars in the past and/or currently creating altars for the 1996 celebration of the Days of the Dead. Tape-recorded interviews with individual co-researchers included seven theme-oriented, unbiased open-ended questions. Data were processed using a heuristic procedure. Results support the use of altar-making as an art therapy intervention in healing the grief of bereavement.
Gabriel, Jeanne, "Ofrendas: Altar-making Traditions in the Mexican Days of the Dead and Art Therapy Applications for Grief and Bereavement" (1997). Art Therapy | Master's Theses in Print. 327.