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.