Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Snapshot: Day of the Dead

Myself, and possibly 100 million other tourists headed to Pátzcuaro for the Day of the Dead celebration. If your thing is gaily dressed skeletons, sugar skulls stacked in teetering displays, decorating graves and spending time with spirits wandering through the night—the villages around Lago de Pátzcuaro is where you want to be, and November 1st is when you want to be there.

The Day of the Dead is when the souls of the dead return home to spend time with their remaining loved ones. Grave sites are cleaned and decorated, sometimes weeks in advance. In honor of the deceased, wheelbarrows full of marigolds and other flowers are carted into cemeteries, elaborate arches are built and offerings of food and libations are left out to satiate the weary traveling souls. On the big night, candles are lit and placed on the graves in order to guide the souls home; families and friends gather amoung the tombstones until dawn. This tradition, deeply rooted in the beliefs of the indigenous people of Latin America is still alive and vigilantly celebrated.

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