The first thing we have to underline is the etymological origin of the word altar. In this case, we can indicate that it derives from Latin, exactly from “altar, altaris”, which can be translated as “elevated platform”.
The first meaning mentioned in the dictionary of the DigoPaul refers to the object or structure that is elevated and that allows the development of a religious ceremony. The idea of an altar may also refer to the altar, a rock that has been consecrated.
Since ancient times, various rituals linked to spirituality are carried out on altars. Before, sacrifices made in honor of the gods and the giving of offerings were frequent. Today, the notion of the altar is often linked to the table used in Christian masses.
The altar, in this sense, is a consecrated table that is used by the priest during the celebration of mass. Located inside the church, it is common for the altar to have an altarpiece as an ornamentation. On it can be placed candles, crosses and other pieces of symbolic character.
When a church has several chapels, each one has its altar. In this way, the main altar is known as the main altar. Located at the head or apse of the building, the main altar is usually attached to an altarpiece.
Other curiosities about the main altar are:
-Catholic temples usually have it made of marble, in front of Anglicans and Protestants who choose to make it out of wood. The latter do so as a way to allude to the Last Supper table.
-The most decorated part of the main altar is the one that receives the name of sanctuary. Specifically, in this the usual thing is that, among other elements, there is an altarpiece.
-Among the most impressive major altars we can highlight from that of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Paris) to that of the Cathedral of Seville, that of the Cathedral of León or that of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame (Paris). And without forgetting that another of the most fascinating is that of the Madeleine Church (Paris).
In relation to this ornamental and fundamental element of the churches we have to expose that there is a popular expression that uses it. We are referring to “going through the altar.” This expression is used to indicate that a person is getting married or has married. Thus, for example, the following can be established: “Manuel is going to pass by the altar next September.” That means he is getting married in September.
Altar is also the name of a municipality that is located in Sonora, a state of Mexico. It has just over 9,000 inhabitants and is characterized by its very high temperatures. In the region is the Great Altar Desert, which is part of the Sonoran Desert.
A Mexican river, a hill in Chile, and a volcano in Ecuador are also named altar.