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- Dia de los Muertos every November 1-2
The Mexicans celebrate the Day
of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos every Nov 1-2,
November 1 is generally referred
to as Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents)
Downtown along the Malecon boardwalk on Nov 1-2, 2017
The arc, made of reed and flowers, symbolizes the door of the entrance
to the world of the dead - El arco, hecho de cana, carrizo y flores, simboliza ser
la puerta de la entrada al mundo de los muertos.
Notice here the bowl of fruit, bottles of beer and the traditional bread offering,
for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the noted Colombian novelist and author who died in April 2014.
Flor de Cempasuchil - Marigold flowers
Xochitl Zempoal means twenty flowers or flowers of a single account
and symbolize the duality between life and death.
The marigold flower is considered the flower of the dead.
It is believed that the spirits of
the dearly departed visit the living during these festivities.
Marigolds guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent.
Fowers in general also represent the fragility of life.
"Forgetting is difficult for those with heart"
Here we see the traditional skulls and of course the marigolds
which are believed to attract the souls of the departed.
Notice the large Catrina in the background (female skeletal figure representing death)
and of course the ever present candles, which help light the way back for the deceased to
their ancestral homes on Earth, and also for their return to the "Land of the Dead".
Unusual boat shaped remembrance altar to the great Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera, 1886-1957
with a young skeleton boy kindly posing for me
An usual altar dedicated to those natural species which have become extinct
which include the imperial woodpecker, Caribbean monk seal, and the Mexican grizzly bear
La Vaquita downtown nightclub with its enormous katrinas for the celebrations in November 2016 -
I took this photo on Halloween night and there were large crowds wandering about
At the Hotel Emperador and Si Senor beachfront restaurant
The cross on the floor represents not only the Catholic symbol of the cross and the crucifixion
but also the four cardinal points: north, south, east and west
Images of animals from purgatory, these are also placed on the altar in case the spirit of the dead
is in purgatory; they would help the soul to leave. According to the Catholic religion those
who die having committed venial sins without confessing must
suffer punishment in purgatory before entering heaven.
This splendid La Catrina above was created by artist Guadalupe Briones in 2015, with a fabric flower hat,
painted with acrylic diamond bag, and pleated skirt with colorful flowers and artistic neck.
The figure has become the referential and traditional image of Death in Mexico,
where it is quite common to see her embodied as part of the celebrations of Day of the Dead throughout the country.
The popularity of La Calavera Catrina as well as her name
is derived from a 1948 work by the great Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
Thus the Catrina has come to symbolize not only El Dia de los Muertos and the Mexican willingness to laugh at death itself,
but originally Catrina was an elegant or well-dressed woman (as seen in the several photos above and below),
so it also refers to rich people.
There is the awareness that Death brings an equalizing force to Life, and that in the end everyone is equal,
and sometimes human beings have to be reminded of this.
another lovely and frightening La Catrina created by Vallarta artist Guadalupe Briones
Feliz Dia de Muertos - Happy day of the dead
This is our Mexico - Este es nuestro México
Camino de flores se utiliza para guiar el camino de las almas a la ofrenda de muertos
A flower path is used to guide the souls to the offerings
Lupe 1 Description: Huichol bracelets, Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe applications, Catrina
sequins and beads, acrylic paint, glitter effects, Huichol beaded earrings,
tulle hat with paper flowers. 70 cm tall and made in 2015 by Guadalupe Briones
To give an abbreviated history, Day
of the Dead traditions appear rooted in pre-Hispanic convictions that
the spirits of the dead
went neither to a heaven nor a hell, but wandered for years or ages before entering Mictlan, the "Land of the Dead".
Traditions and festivities vary throughout Mexico due to its 60 or so indigenous groups. In some communities
the relatives of the deceased burn incense over the altars, while in other localities people
light bonfires in their house doorways to guide the souls of the dead home.
Some Mexicans have all night vigils while others arrange an afternoon meal
at the gravesides of their departed loved ones, friends and relatives.
These gatherings are often festive and solemn by turn.
The Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico also combines the Spanish catholicism of All Saints Day and All Souls Day
with the symbols and mythology of the earlier pagan and more ancient indigenous traditions
(much like the yearly Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration which combines catholic and pagan influences)
More fun things to see and do during your stay in town -
Downtown along the main stretch of the Malecon boardwalk during the 2016 celebrations
when many altars are constructed and flowers and remembrances placed.
Dedicted to the great Mexican artist and muralist Diego Rivera
La gente va por la calle y pasa siempre de frente sin pensar que en una esquina se encontrará con la muerte.
No camines porque si observa todo a tu paso, porque la muerte es canija.... - Colegio Jefferson
Thanks to El Coleguita seafood restaurant for this photo of their Altar to the Dead from October 30, 2020.
Located in the Marina on Popa Street, local 17,
Mariscos El Coleguita since 1989 has been known for its friendly service and reasonable prices
Return to main Day of
"It is better to die on your feet
than to live on your knees." - revolutionary Emiliano Zapata
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