I said in my last post that the fun and frolics in the Zocalo and elsewhere are just little warm up exercises for the real thing. What Day of the Dead is all about. Some would go so far to say that the traditional Day of the Dead is gradually being eroded by Halloween, the US variant. But I’m not sure that’s entirely true.
It is safe to say that elements have intruded on Day of the Dead. But much of it is extra, not instead of. Day of the Dead is really about remembering your dead relatives, and that is still very much a prominent feature of the festival. Go to any graveyard on the evening of November 1st and you’ll see what I mean. All the tombs have been covered in flowers and candles, and the place will be alive with people come to spend some time with their dearly departed.
For the second year running I went to a little town near Texcoco, on the outskirts on the city with Paola and her family. They still have relatives living in the town, and the first stop is their house. They had lots of flower petals lining the path up to the front door – they lost a baby many years ago, and the yellow/ornage petals guide the spirit to the right place!
Then it’s on to the graveyard where Paola’s paternal grandfather and grandmother are buried. The photo below is of granny’s grave. She died a long time ago now, back in 1963 at the very young age of 30. She’d have been 75 now, which most westerners would consider average. Yet she passed on just a few months before JFK met his maker.