When one first hears mention of the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the emotions evoked are usually a mix of curiosity, reverence, and perhaps an ever-so-slight shiver of fear. Ever since I attended a local Dia De Los Muertos exhibit for Spanish class extra credit my freshman year of high school, I have been both intrigued and infatuated with the holiday. While the traditions of the holiday differ from city to state to village in Mexico, what remains constant is the idea that on the nights of November 1st and 2nd, the spirits of the dearly departed are welcomed back with outstretched arms and warmly celebrated. It was no coincidence that I visited Mexico for the very first time right as the celebrations and observances were commencing.
From my first moment meandering Mexico City's streets, where colorful cutout papers were strung from the roofs of buildings and business alike, Dia De Los Muertos was omnipresent. Handcrafted skeletons partied on balconies, rode in the back of trolleys, and sat frozen in time at ofrendas (home made remembrance altars) around the capital city. The ofrenda has always been the facet of the festival that I was most infatuated with. The idea of remembering loved ones with little tokens of things that the departed enjoyed during their life is such an honest way to pay respect. Every time I saw one, I could not help but think of my friends and family gathered around an ofrenda full of maps, hockey pucks, pizza, Hoegaarden beer, and other mementos of my life one day.
|Museum of Popular Culture|
|San Andres Apostol Church|
The cemetery in Mixquic was without a doubt, the highlight of my entire Dia De Los Muertos experience in Mexico. Although the small cemetery was a bit overrun by observers, when the breeze would waft incense in my face as I crossed paths with a grave covered in marigolds and candles, I knew it was the experience I had been looking for.