El Día de Muertos, the day of the dead, is a Mexican holiday honoring the lives of friends and family members who have died. It is a time to gather with loved ones, build altars to the deceased, and visit graves with gifts and offerings. It is not a time of mourning, but a grand celebration of life
Food and beverage are placed in the altars to the spirits, who take nourishment from these offerings. Sugar skulls are one common example, as well as the favorite foods of the departed
Unrelated to Halloween, the holiday dates back to traditions of the Aztecs. People paint their faces to look like skulls or dress as skeletons. Taking place from October 31st to November 2nd, one day is taken to remember children who have died and another to honor adults. Some of the traditions of American Halloween have seeped into local culture, as many of us handed out candy to children in the Jardin, the town square on the night of the 31st
The Jardin is typically foot-traffic only, and most of this space was now taken over by altars and art pieces.
The construction of the altars is mostly organic material, from marigold petals (the flower of the dead) to corn kernels of all sizes and colors, along with pieces of colored paper
Calacas, or skulls, were a central theme of art across town.
In the evenings, parades of skeleton marching bands worked their way through town. An endless supply of bottle rockets and fire crackers followed the parade route, loud enough to wake the dead
It is a beautiful thing to see a community come together to honor their dead and celebrate life. The quote in the photo above says, “The life of the dead is in the memory of the living.” Death isn’t something to be feared, we live on through the memories of our friends and loved ones. And my own personal version, “Life is too short to be spent in an office.”
Live well friends