Monday, November 1, 2010

Communing with Calaveras.....

Day of the Dead is a unique festival celebrated in Mexico from October 31st to November 2nd whereby loved ones who have departed this world are welcomed back for a night of festivities. First come the "angelitos" (souls of children) tempted back by sugar candy...















...and then it is the turn of the adult ancestors who are honoured with "ofrendes" (altars of offerings for the dead) containing their photographs and all their favourite foods and drinks and cigarettes all in a haze of candles, copal incense, marigolds and Calla lilies....














At the cemeteries all night vigils take place at the graveside with families holding a celebration for the return of their loved ones. Graves are meticulously scrubbed and decorated with fresh flowers predominantly marigolds and lit with candles to welcome back those who have departed. Wandering graveyard mariachi bands help with the summons...















The atmosphere is one of joyous and festive celebration, acknowledging the continuous circle of life and death, with not even a hint of morbidness. There are no taboos surrounding death in this country......



















I have now celebrated five Day of the Dead festivals here in Mexico in Oaxaca, Patzcuaro, and Real de Catorce, and one in Nicaragua. It is such a special festival, I would not miss it for the world, and if you get a chance to visit during this time, then grab the opportunity of witnessing something unique. This year I was down in Oaxaca and will be posting soon about the "Tapetes Monumentales"!! In the meantime get more of a global glimpse this week by checking out the My World Tuesday postings. Click here. ...and as always enjoy!!

11 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I do remember the celebration! Thanks for the memories, Catherine! Terrific captures as always, so colorful, so Mexico!! Hope your week is off to a great start!

Sylvia

Al said...

Very interesting. All we have here is Halloween, which is very much a fun day for the children rather than a real celebration of the departed.

Lakshmi said...

colourful post..I wish Im there to see these celebrations

Owen said...

Color me bright green with envy... I'd love to see some of these festivities some day... but when that will be, I couldn't say. You are so so lucky ! Can't wait to see more...

J Bar said...

That's amazing. I've never seen anything like it.

ewok1993 said...

very colorful.

someday i want to be in mexico for the dia de las muertes.

Caroline said...

How interesting. It all ties in with Halloween and other similar celebrations. Fascinating and what lovely photos too. THanks very much!

Wifey10 said...

oh very colourful and a bit different! =)

eileeninmd said...

Sounds like an amazing festival to be a part of. Your photos are wonderful.

Catherine said...

thanks for all the comments - very much appreciated - I am still away travelling at present so will catch up with your latest blog posts at the weekend when I am back from Miami....

bea said...

Love your shadows and the colours in the photos are so vivid. Makes one want to step in and take a look around. Great pics.
Barbiboo
http://barbiboo-bea.blogspot.com/