Sunday, November 04, 2012

Day of the Dead in a Cemetery on Lake Patzcuaro in Mexico

To me THIS is what this day or night is all about.  It doesn't matter how many parades are held.  It doesn't matter how many altars are made.  Or how much money businesses make from this traditional day.  It is truly about this.

To me it is the most extraordinary day in Mexico each year.  The year was 2008 that I traveled with a Purepecha woman friend to the cemeteries in the hinterland that are not visited by tourists.  If I live forever, I'll never forget the feeling of reverence, purity, closeness of family, and the "other world" that I felt.  The sensuous smells of the flowers, and the copal burning,  The textures of the flowers, the turned earth, the candles everywhere were magnificent.  Although there was noise outside the cemetery, as I entered everything took on a hushed tone.  A million dollar movie production could not have been more beautiful or startling.

Women in rebozos with men in straw hats and ponchos were putting the final touches on their family grave sites.  OR they were sitting on stools in contemplation.  I so didn't want to disturb anyone that I tried to tiptoe so as not to make a sound.  Whole families.  Little ones wrapped in blankets, teenagers sitting quietly, parents and grandparents.  There for the night. The cold night. 

Since it had rained earlier, it was not easy to tiptoe, much less walk without losing your balance in the slick mud.  But, those were worldly things and I know at times I was really not part of this world in that setting.  My words are inadequate to describe the whole experience.

I have many more photos of that night.  It was beyond extraordinary.  I was honored to have witnessed such a beautiful tradition.   It is a tradition that has been carried out throughout Mexico for thousands of years.

I so hope that this tradition does not become commercialized as so many things have in the USA.  In any event, this night was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  Viva Mexico!


Carlos Ponce-Meléndez said...

Well said Babs, el dia de los muertos is a day to communicate with our past, that is part of our present, and with life after death. I agree with you, el dia de los muertos is a holy celebration that should be free of commercial contamination (just looke to mother's day, Chistmas, etc)

Babs said...

Thank you for posting. I was very disturbed by a "festival" here put together by some ex=pats who live in Mexico City called LaCalaca. I don't mind if they plan something, but not on this date. Plus some of their activities, to my way of thinking, were extremely disrespectful to the tradition. THEY say that it is to bring more business to San Miguel. To me there are other times to do that......and in another way.