Friday, November 04, 2005
El Dia de los Muertissimos!
This week was the fun and colorful DAY OF THE DEAD celebration in Mexico. Many people even get a day off work on the 2nd. so that tells you something about how serious it is. Basically, the idea is that your dead ancestors and relatives are honored on this day and will return to take part in the festivities.
Many people make altars of candles, elaborate seasonal flowers, photographs and candy skulls to attract them. Some offerings are more elaborate and have food dishes and other things the dead may have liked while alive. On the Day of the Dead Generally there is a party on the night of the 1st followed by a day of eating and general holidayness on the 2nd. In places like Oaxaca and Michoacan, (where I've read that the thousands of years old celebration originated) the festivities are even more elaborate. People go to cemeteries and pay respect to relatives or friends who have passed on over the years, maybe have a party and then many stay the entire night in a vigil.
In Mexico City there are many huge offerings made by institutions, delegations of the city, Universities, and other groups. Many were on display in the Zocalo which was packed with onlookers, performers, and offerings. There were free concerts and some cultural centers had art shows and performances dedicated to the day.
Here's an offering with a skull made of beans - How much more Mexican can you get?
After wandering around downtown, we went to our friend Bernardo's place and made a small altar. The orange flower petals are called the Flor de Muerto or zempoalxochitl in Nauhuatl and are generallly part of every altar and can be seen all over the place in the city on this day. It was a good time and a uniquely Mexican holiday. Next time around I'd like to go to Patzquaro in Michoacan or Oaxaca for the Day to see how it is they do it there.