Friday, October 28, 2016

Dia de Muertos

Day of the Dead parade in Spectre 2015 

It’s a case of life imitating art. 

The most recent James Bond film, Spectre, released in November 2015 has an explosive beginning in Mexico City.  The famous British spy chases a bad guy through the historic downtown district while thousands enjoy a Day of the Dead parade. 

It was a fake parade, created just for the movie.

"Now,” according to the Minister of Tourism, “we’ve had to invent the Day of the Dead carnival because, after the James Bond movie, tourists will be looking for the carnival and they're not going to find it,” Enrique de la Madrid Cordero said when speaking to a convention of travel agents.

San Miguel de Allende - 2008, L Lock photo
In Mexico, November 1st honors children and infants "Día de los Inocentes”, and adults are honored on November 2nd as "Día de los Muertos".  The Day of the Dead (People) celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mexican or Aztec, Maya, P'urhépecha, and Totonac.  
Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these people for as long as 2500–3000 years.  In the pre-Hispanic-era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.  The Dia de los Muertos celebrations include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.  Some families leave a pillow and blanket outside the family home to provide a resting place for their loved ones.  In many places people have picnics at the gravesite of their family members.
Beauty-School altar Yucatan Living
Many tourists seeking a Day of the Dead experience head for rural indigenous communities in states such as Michoacán where cemeteries overflow with flowers, candles, color, and emotion.  
In Morelia, the capital of Michoacán state, it is evolving into a huge tourist attraction.  Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro better known as San Juan Nuevo, located 15 minutes from the city Uruapan features lighting of candles, release of balloons and floating candles, Passage of the Souls walk, a costume contest, music and art.  Closer to home, in Mérida the Passage of the Souls walk has grown to over fifty thousand participants. 
Here on Isla the municipality has created several new events to attract tourists to the Día de los Muertos.
Getty Images - Yucatan Expat
October 29th will feature Flamenco Dancers at the Casa de la Cultura esplanda, that’s the area behind the building facing the ocean. 

October 30th is the Magical Night of the Souls in the main square by City Hall, with troupes of folkloric dancers.

On November 2nd The Parade of Silence, for the passage of the souls begins at the old cemetery at the north end of Hidalgo Avenue at six in the evening.  The route will take the participants down Hidalgo to Lopez Mateos and then culminate at the Casa de la Cultura.

But, please remember folks, it’s not Halloween.  It is a very intimate and personal way of conquering death, by bringing back dead loved ones for a visit with the family. 

November 2nd Festival de las Animas 

Join in the celebrations, but please be respectful of the customs. 

Cheers from paradise

Lynda & Lawrie

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