Saturday, November 02, 2013

San Miguel de Allende - San Juan de Dios Cemetery - Day of the Dead

The large panteon (cemetery) here in San Miguel is always a difficult place to visit around this time of the year.  The street is narrow and is the most current cemetery hence has zillions of visitors.  They were there yesterday and today.  It was poignant to see young and old walking there from all over town to take flowers, food and candles to decorate the graves.

I personally like this cemetery.  It is older with graves only as recent as 1935 from what I can find.
Hence, not a lot of tourists or visitors.

I jumped out of bed and scurried over this morning so I could photograph just in case hordes of people might show up later today.  I and about three other people were there.  I could walk freely and again, as I have done so many years in the past, I could walk in peace and serenity thinking about how blessed and beautiful, how spiritual and tranquil the tradition of the cleaning and decorating of the graves is and has been for over 3000 years!

I like that no matter how grand or how simple the gravesite is, it has been decorated, even if it is just a few marigold flower petals.

The papel picado tissue paper flags gently fly in the breeze reminding me of the prayer flags used in other parts of the World.  Often I wonder how and if traditions came from other parts of the world to Mexico via the Bering Straits.

This grave is one of the oldest - simple but holding a former citizen of San Miguel who was, in my opinion, lucky to have lived here in a simpler time without cars, and all the other modern "conveniences" of today.

Typically the cemeteries and altars are made of flowers, flower petals, seeds, beans and colored sawdust gathered from the carpenters all over town who save it to be used for this tradition.
Nothing is wasted in Mexico!

The simplicity always touches my soul.

As I entered the cemetery, I'm telling you the truth, my camera started acting weird.  The zoom was going in and out.  The camera stopped working.  It took some weird photos once I did get it back on and working.  The above photo, to me, looks otherworldly.  I didn't know it came out like this until I downloaded it to the computer.  Probably my favorite photo of the day!

And, this headstone, broken but still decorated.  The cemetery is locked at all times now.  It used to be that you could walk in at any time.  I assume vandalism caused this broken headstone.  Sad.

Another old, but not forgotten headstone.

If you are interested in seeing other photos of Day of the Dead in other parts of Mexico, go to this time of the year in previous years and see and read.  In 2008 after having visited Puebla and Tlaxcala, I posted photos of the City of Puebla, Huaquechula where the satin altars for children are made.  People come from all over the world to witness this tradition.  Photos of Santa Maria Tonantzanella, not sure about that spelling, are also there. 

In addition, I visited the Sierra Gorda with the churches of Father Serra along with Las Pozas, the sculpture gardens of Edward James.  In that region, their altars are covered with orchids as they grow wild!  There are very few tourists and visitors in the distant villages.  Therefore the purity of the traditions are not influenced by any commercial aspect.

Of course, last but certainly not least, Patzcuaro and the villages surround Lake Patzcuaro have been photographed by me many times.  It is my ultimate destination to absorb this spirtual and personal Dia de Los Muertos.
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Anonymous said...

I'm always sorry to see vandalized tombs, as it reminds me that to some people, really nothing is sacred.

Beautiful post.

Feliz Día de los Muertos.

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where this afternoon we went to see an 18th century cemetery near our house.

Babs said...

I'm so glad you went to a cemetery today - maybe next year you'll be here!
I don't understand people who rob churches, steal statutes and deface cemeteries. Some day they'll be sorry...........

Hacienda4Reals said...

Hi Babs, we must have crossed paths yesterday as we took many of the same photos! My husband and I are here until tomorrow afternoon. If you are free this afternoon or tomorrow for a late breakfast we would love to take you out! Contact me at We are in the Jardin at the moment. Sidewalk at the restaurant de Jardin having a mimosa!

Babs said...

Hi Hacienda4Reals - Just sent an email to the email address you sent but it came back as an automated message saying you're out of the office.
I'm sorry but my schedule is already set for tomorrow and so it doesn't look like we'll be able to get together before your departure. Thanks for asking - maybe next time?
Have a safe journey home.