Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dia De Muertos.....

Yesterday was All Souls Day, or, as it's known here in Mexico, The Day of the Dead.  When I was a kid, May 30 was Memorial Day....  (also known locally as "Decoration Day").  At least in my part of Ohio this was the day to plant fresh flowers on your loved ones gravesite in their memory.  My Mom and Dad would fill the Radio Flyer wagon with jars of cut flowers, with potted flowers to be planted and jars of water to give the freshly planted flowers a good start, probably added some sandwiches and start the walk with us 3 kids up to Hilltop Cemetery.  The cemetery where my little brother is buried (and now my parents) would be full of other people also honoring their dead.  I don't remember Memorial Day being so military oriented back then...  it was a special day for all deceased.  

Here, in Mexico, The Day of the Dead is very much like that; a day to honor the dead.  The big difference I see is that here, the dead are depicted as skeletons ....  often as very active skeletons.
These decorations were hanging in a restaurant where we recently had lunch.  
A nice looking couple all dressed up for a dinner out....

It's also traditional to have skulls made of sugar for sale in the stores.  They might be decorated with sugar flowers and be quite attractive.

At least in this area of Mexico, the holiday actually extends into a 3 day celebration...  Halloween eve, All Saint's Day and then All Soul's Day.  Flowers start to go on sale at least a week before the big day...
Marigolds are the traditional flower to decorate the cemeteries...

But all varieties of flowers are sold ....  Buckets of fresh flowers would be available throughout the downtown streets.  Seems everyone here takes whatever opportunity they get to generate some income.  We saw lots and lots of artificial flower arrangements these past few days.  It was quite interesting to watch folks carrying huge arrangements on the bus....  sometimes seating can be rather crowded.  Nobody minded....

Look at this HUGE skeleton cookie!
It's probably 10' or more long.  I think it was just a store decoration...  I can't imagine anyone trying to get this guy home in one piece!

Wednesday was a holiday...  no school...  so there were families with kids everywhere.  Bill and I took the bus down to the mall...  it was crazy with people!

Many stores were decorated...  the atmosphere was happy and cheerful.
Lots of posters like the above...  all celebrating the day!

As the bus went past the cemetery I tried to get a couple of photos...
This is the access road to the cemetery here at Lo de Marcos...
There was a policeman directing traffic as both vehicle and pedestrian traffic was overwhelming!  Those are tents set up, I think selling food and drinks at the entrance to the cemetery.  The church services were during the day... I think the priest came and had blessing services.  While I would like to have gone, I knew I'd want to take photos...  felt that would be disrespectful, so Bill & I waited until today to visit the cemetery, when nobody was around.

It's not a huge cemetery, but it seemed totally packed to me.  Most of the gravesites are in rows, but there also seems to be large plots that kind of abut into other plots.  I'm sure those in charge know what's what...  or maybe who's where.

Some of the gravesites were very formal...  here the flowers are so elegant and stately...

Both real and artificial flowers adorn the same sites.  Some of the crypts were so heavily decorated with so many flowers you could hardly see the headstones.  I think we saw only one headstone that didn't have any flowers at all.  Made me wish I'd taken some along just for him.

Not just flowers, but ropes of colored paper flowers, and even a few gifts (I saw a can of Corona at one site).  
I don't know if anyone was able to communicate with their loved one or if they helped a few more souls on their final journey, but if the number of visitors and the amount of gifts and flowers means anything, it was a good day for all.

Obviously there is much to this holiday that I haven't written about...  nor do I know ...  but it is surely one of the traditional Mexican Holidays that will stand out in our memory.

That's All For Today!


  1. Here, it was Dia de los Santos, a legal holiday. Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday and most stores were closed Tuesday. But so different from the Mexican traditions.

  2. When we are down in Mission, TX, we notice that they really decorate their graves. Some very beautiful.
    I noticed that the graves are above ground. You must be in a high water area. Is that right?

  3. I love how in South Texas, the Hispanics really decorate the graves at the cemetery. Lots of the graves even have a couple chairs to sit in while the family visits with "ghosts" of the past..Love that kind of stuff!!

  4. When I was young, it was a day to honor family, clean off headstones, tidy up plots, leave flowers. We took "flags." It was years later I learned the "flags" were iris.

  5. What an interesting tradition. We did see lot of this when we were in South Texas.

  6. It was really fun to see how The Day of the Dead is celebrated in your neck of the woods. It seems both life affirming and death accepting. The skeleton cookie is amazing.

  7. Loved the Corona story. Thanks for my morning smile :)

  8. The cemetery is colorful and beautifully decorated. I remember too when Memorial Day was dedicated to everyone's dead, not just military. Lots of flowers all over the cemeteries then too.

  9. Such an amazing way to celebrate the dead. Love your pictures.