Huatulco Life was inspired by people with a passion for Huatulco and the Mexican lifestyle. It is a place to find out more information about the region and enjoy the beauty of the Oaxacan coastline through the photo gallery. From time to time, other interesting tidbits about Mexico make their way into the pages of this blog. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Return of The Day of the Dead

Today's post is by Sue McClam

It is not hard to tell what time of year it is here in Huatulco, Mexico.  Yesterday the zocalo was teaming with high school age kids.  It drew our attention so we stopped.  Each group of 8 students was busy making a tapetas de arena, a scene made of sand for the evening contest.  These beautifully crafted scenes depict age old symbols of death.  Dancing skeletons, laughing skulls, grave stones, crosses and the like decorated with the petals of compasúchil (marigold) flowers come alive with colored sand and a generous sprinkling of sparkles.  Each a work of art in itself, these tapetes will be left for passersby to see and admire.  I am told that throughout the weekend and ofrenda or altar contest will take place there too.  I have noticed altars at various public sites and at the kindergarten down the street.

New indigenous faces have appeared along the perimeter of the market selling everything necessary for creating an altar, public, or private.  The women have come down from the sierra to sell flowers, green ceramics, sugar skulls, and tombs, chocolate and the favorite food of those who have gone before us.  Tamales will be sold from carts in the street saving us the time and labor involved in making these traditional treats.  Already ornately decorated pan de muerto has begun to show up in the bakeries around town.

It is time to prepare to welcome back the souls of those we love who have left us.  The 31st marked the arrival of the agelitos, those children who died too early to have a chance at life.  Then on November 1st, the decorating and visiting of the graves in the cemetary began.  Flowers will be brought to adorn the freshly whitewashed pantheon (cemetary).  Family members will gather with copal incense, photographs, food, drink, flowers, and candles.  The night becomes magic as the souls and memories of those who we lost create a palpable presence.  Extra altars will be assembled with the specific intention to remember those who have passed on without a trace, no family or friend to mourn, but remembered just the same by the collective conscience of the community.

It is time to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

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