November 04, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

November 2, Dia de los Muertos, occurs at a time of year when many religions believe the separation between the world of the living and the dead is only thinly veiled. In Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, Day of the Dead is a time when people build altars to their ancestors and deceased historical figures. For us, being in Mexico during this colorful celebration was a treat. At left is one of the altars students and parents at our school created.

To the right is an altar to Luis Donaldo Colosio and his wife Diana. Luis Donaldo was a 1994 presidential candidate who is likened to John F. Kennedy for his charisma and belief in a democratic Mexico. He was assasinated while campaigning in Tijuana. His wife died several months later of cancer. This altar was also made by students at our school.

After visiting the altars at school, we went downtown to the cathedral where there was a competition in the streets for the best Dia de los Muertos altar. We found this life-sized "esqueleto," and many other very cool altars, art, music and food.

We also found this "esqueleto" downtown.

The display of altars occured on the eve of Day of the Dead, or November 1. The next day, most people had off work and went to "el cementerio" to visit the graves, or "panteones," of family members. They decorated them with flowers, cleaned them of debris and tended to the weeds. So we went too. We didn't take pictures because it felt disrespectful. But it was very touching to see families together, honoring their ancestors. In northern Mexico, where we are, observance of Day of the Dead is waning. It is much more popular in southern Mexico. But the Ministry of Culture and Education for the state of Sonora (the state we live in) is trying to increase people's interest in the holiday again and maintain this bit of culture in northern Mexico.

more photos:

1 comment:

Scott & Jessica said...

Hi Brady and Natalie!! Love the updates...glad to see you two are doing well! We miss you guys, hope you stay safe and come back soon so we can hang out! We had our little girl a month ago, little Addison Brenna Daukas. :) Your blog inspired us to start one as well, check it out at!!

See you later! Scott and Jessica