Day(s) of the Dead in Chapala

I suspect that if you quizzed Americans about the most significant holiday in Mexico (other than Christmas), the response would be Cinco de Mayo. What this one is singled out is a mystery to me.

Having passed through Cinco de Mayo here in Mexico, I can say with assurance that this particular holiday is not THE national holiday here.

Day of the Dead is. (Rivaled, I might add by the five days of celebration at Carnival; known in the U.S. as Mardi Gras.)

Yes, Day of the Dead really comprises three days. One day is dedicated to children who passed. Another is dedicated to ancestors.

Yes, Day of the Dead is full of costumes and color. Yet, there seems to be a sacred reverence that suffuses and permeates the holiday.

This was evident last Friday on ancestor day.

On the main square between the malecon, the cathedral and the main downtown intersection, dozens if not hundreds of mostly young people constructed booths dedicated to the memory of a deceased loved-one.

Using wood chips and sawdust painted in a wild menagerie of colors along with mementos of the deceased and day-of-the-dead bread and fruit and photos and signs encapsulating the life of the deceased, these memorials are meticulously erected as a tribute to those gone by.

Many of those participating were elaborately painted. (When I passed by the barber/beauty shop that both Bonita and I patronize, every chair was full and there was a line waiting to be painted.)

This was not the revelry associated with Halloween in the U.S. No one that I saw was passing out candy. There were no tricks; no treats. The spirit of the day was respect and reverence.

So, for once, I will let the pictures tell the thousand stories.


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