Day of the Dead

It’s one of my favorite Mexican celebrations of the year, if you can call it a celebration. A few Mexicans have looked at me curiously over the last few days when I have used the word in relation to Day of the Dead, or wished them a Happy Day  of the Dead. Maybe it’s more than simply a celebration, but a celebration it is too. For non religious me, it is wholly a celebration!

It’s also the one time of the year when it’s perfectly acceptable to stalk kids, offering them candy in exchange for a photo! The effort Mexican families go to, to get their kid dressed up as Katrina, Dracula, a mummy or some other monster is incredible. This years monster outfit of choice seemed to be Michael Jackson costumes.

Another great plus point of Day of the Dead is that there’s more than just one of them, and the net result is a long weekend with Monday being a public holiday. I’m all for public holidays.  And this is the biggy as far as public holidays go, except, perhaps, for Christmas. The Zocalo is always fully decked out in skulls, skeletons and other morbid stuff, and full of the aforementioned dressed up kids wandering around with their bright orange pumpkin buckets, known locally as calaveritas, ready to accept gifts from strangers.

Except this year, the Zocalo ofrenda was cancelled. Economic situation, see. Not enough cash. Although we are promised that the magical melting ice rink will be back again for Christmas along with the worlds biggest ever Christmas tree. They say they are making the biggest tree ever  with an eye on getting into the Guinness Book of Records. This may be so, I suppose, but perhaps they also need its shade to keep the sun’s rays off the ice rink.

But I digress. This year we were forced to go to a smaller, but more local event, at Coyoacan. And jolly nice it was too. There is a more serious side to Day of the Dead though. We didn’t, however, go to the cemetery this year to remember those who’ve departed. Maybe next year. I took a few photos, of both ofrendas and wandering monsters, such as the very enthusiastic mummy below. Click here to go see them.

Born-To-Terrify

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    • That is exactly where I had wanted to go! But the car was out of order, so Coyoacan won over by virtue of being much closer. I’ve been here a few years and have just never quite gotten round to checking UNAM’s event out….maybe next year.

  • The kid in the photo is doing Halloween, not Los Muertos. Halloween is a growing curse in Mexico. I generally favor Gringo influences down here because they usually, in my opinion, improve Mexican life. Halloween, however, does not. It simply is watering down the Day of the Dead.

    I live in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, one of the primary Muertos locations in Mexico. Each year I am seeing growing hordes of little kids running around the plaza for over a week before The Day of the Dead trick or treating for money. You can hardly walk around without tripping over one of the little begging buggers. Bad thing.

    • You’re not wrong Don Felipe, as usual. Although I do know the difference between them, my UK background is one whether neither exists. Although I guess some kids go trick or treating these days. In most countries, what British kids get up to on Oct 31st is more commonly known as robbery, vandalism and theft.

      But for me, its a very pleasant weekend of nonsensical hocus pocus mixed in with a little wishful thinking, and lots of photographic opportunities.

  • I only heard of this celebration through my blogging friends but I just love hearing about it each year now. It is becoming one of my faves too!

    People say Happy Easter too!!! And in South Africa, we wish people a Happy Youth Day on June 16 and that day is to remember the Soweto Uprising when up to 600 school children were killed by the Apartheid government. We’re just a morbid lot I guess. :o)

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