A Visit to Calaverandia

As part of the Day of the Dead celebration, an innovative Guadalajara-based entertainment company staged a pop-up theme park dedicated to highlighting the origins and practices of Day of the Dead. Our neighbors and I made our way to Guadalajara before the actual Day of the Dead to take in the park.

We were a little hesitant. The admission prices ran $500 to $1000 pesos or about $25 to $50 U.S. dollars. Pricey for around here. We’re glad we didn’t let that stand in our way.

The evening was wonderful.

The theme park was staged in an actual city park. Even on a Tuesday night, lots of people were in attendance. We waited for about fifteen minutes to park and the parking was free!

Stopping to buy our tickets, we were intrigued by the variety of lights and sounds emanating from the site. Up at the ticket booth we learned that seniors get a 20% discount! Lovely!

And, finally, the grand entry:

There were lots of workers doing maintenance, keeping the park clean and giving information. Others roamed the park allowing visitors to buy wristbands loaded with pesos that had to be used for any purchases made in the park. No money could be used in the park. Only the wristbands, which could be loaded either using cash or, definitely preferred, credit or debit cards.

Displays were everywhere. And photo ops.

There were several stages in the park with different shows. These were typically short productions with music, dancing, acrobatics and lights.

And there were several walking displays. One took us on the journey that the dead take in the stories here in Mexico. Mythical and interesting.

Of course, there was a grand altar at Calaverandia in honor of all the dead in Mexico.

Calaverandia is a reference to the tradition of Catrina, originated early in the twentieth century. The Calavera Catrina.

It was indeed a night to remember.

Of course, there was lots of food available and well-priced. And looked totally yummy. Next time, we won’t eat before we go!

Lots of fun and lots of memories.




El Dia de Muertos 2019

Chapala celebrated the Day of the Dead last Saturday, November 2.

We’ve learned a lot more about the celebration and could appreciate its richness even more this year.

One of the essences of the holiday is to mock death itself. The “dead” live on in the hearts and memories of those living. The holiday is one of remembering and celebrating those who have passed on to another existence and yet are well-remembered here.

Every part of the holiday is imbued with meaning. Sure, there’s lot of fun involved too. Costumes, face painting, dressing up. And lots of art and artistic expression in building pop-up monuments to the departed.

Everywhere you go you encounter lots and lots of Calavera Katrinas. This tradition was founded in the early part of the twentieth century artist Jose Guadalupe Posada who satirized Mexicans who were trying to emulate Europeans in dress and style. The satire caught on and now Katrinas are everywhere.

Here’s one with me!

Centro Historico in Chapala is dedicated to the celebration of El Dia de Muertos.

Celebrants start early in the morning building their altars and monuments and then these are displayed during the day and lit up with candles at night.

This year, the theme seemed to be teachers and educators. Even to the founder of Montessori.

Each tier of the displays have particular meanings.

Notice the intricate artwork and the time and effort that goes into each of these monuments. Quite inspiring.

And there were several Xolos, the hairless Mexican dog breed that is thought to be a guide for the recently deceased on their journey to their next existence.

It was quite a day. We look forward to next year’s.