Monday, November 12, 2012

Día de los Muertos

Flowers were for sale everywhere for the Day of the Dead
I spent two weeks in Mexico in October to be with my parents who are struggling with their health. The area they live in is beautiful and I am content being around the property. Our main outings were to the hospital and shops for food and medicine, but we went to a lovely restaurant for breakfast the last day I was there. The day was November 2nd, the Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos which is a national holiday and a remembrance day of sorts.

A Catrina at the airport
Mexicans do not observe Halloween as we do but November 1st is the day they remember deceased children and the next day is a day to remember deceased adults. The celebrations are a mix of traditional Mexican culture with an injection of Catholicism. Similar observances were marked by the Aztecs centuries ago.

On the way home we stopped by the main cemetery in the city. The adjacent park was filled with elaborately decorated altars containing ofrendas of favorite foods and beverages as well as photos and personal items of the departed. Flowers, wreaths and food were for sale and the mood was celebratory. Marigolds are the flower of choice for this day.

Toward evening we walked to the local cemetery just outside the small village where my family lives. I was surprised to see buildings built over many of the graves, some very elaborate and others very modest. Families sat together visiting and eating. The graves are decorated and in some areas, people stay all night by candle light hoping to visit with the departed.

When I left the next day, I noticed an altar in the Guadalajara airport and a couple of  Catrinas stood in prominent places. I took a lot of pictures and the 2 minute slide show below combines images of the city celebration followed by photos of the village cemetery.

6 comments:

  1. It seems like a nice idea to set aside a special time to remember and get together.

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  2. I agree with you. They seem to have a healthier attitude toward death than we do in our culture.

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  3. Just like in the Philippines.

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  4. The New Orleans tradition, where I grew up, was to decorate the family tombs on All Soul's Day. It's interesting to learn the traditions in different places, and especially in different countries.

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  5. I always like learning about other traditions around the world.
    I like the remembrance, the flowers especially and had never heard of a Catrina. I thought it was a pretty name for a girl.

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  6. I wasn't sure what the day of the dead was about so thanks. I wonder how you get full sized videos.Mine come out so tiny that I don't want to bother.

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