Friday, September 26, 2008

Festivals in Mexico - Day of the Dead

The next most important festival in Mexico will be the Day of the Dead celebrations held on November 1st and 2nd throughout the country. So far, I have witnessed the rituals and traditions in Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Patzcuaro, and Real de Catorce, but this year will be returning to Patzcuaro and the surrounding villages where the festival is particularly special. The island of Janitzio and the lakeside village of Tzintzuntzan (my favourite place name in the whole of Mexico derived from Purepecha for hummingbird and obviously onomatopoeic ) will both be on the itinerary.
Pictured above are sugar skulls on a market stall in Guanajuato which are typical of the banquet of skeletal candy that appears at this time of year often accompanied by the special Pan de Muertos ( bread of the dead). Ofrendes (altars honouring the dead) also appear everywhere at this time of year - in the local bank, in every shop window, in hotel lobbies, in restaurants, and the one pictured is part of a giant ofrende which totally took over the basketball courts at the school where I teach.
Look for more upcoming photos and posts about the Day of the Dead, a festival which is absolutely unique to Mexico, and explains the prevalence of skull and skeleton iconography in Mexican folk art and other works of art.

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