Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

Watching people mourn their loved ones, whether they are drinking tequila while doing it or not, seems like a bizarre way to spend an evening, but we were in Mexico and it was Dia de los Muertos, so that is what we set out to do.

The large indigenous population of Patzcuaro promised all-night cemetery vigils and ghoulish revelry—eating, drinking and dancing with the dead. Hoards of Mexican and international tourists flock to the colonial lakeside town every year, and we were among them—sitting in traffic, miles from our destination. Anxious to get out from under the shadow of the tour buses, we took a spontaneous turn down a narrow road, following close behind a mud crusted pickup truck over-flowing with bright orange marigolds. A canopy of colorful paper flags hung low over the crumbling residential street which dead ended at an inconspicuous cemetery.

Buzzing with activity, the cemetery had a cheerful mood. Families were scrubbing tombstones and landscaping graves with fresh flowers and candles in preparation for a night of remembrance and rejoice with their deceased loved ones. Adoration and tenderness were channeled through their deeds. A vibrant blanket of marigold petals was laid out to welcome the souls home. Our serendipitous turn had derailed us from the spectacle of Dia de los Muertos and gave us an intimate peek behind-the-scenes. Leaving the iconic glamorous skeletons and sugar skulls far behind, we had the privilege of experiencing the true spirit of the holiday.

This post has been entered into the HomeAway UK Grantourismo travel blogging contest for October. We would love to hear your comments.


  1. This reminds me of the way the Japanese have picnics and drink sake at the cemeteries. Not that I've seen it but my friend who lives in Tokyo partakes in the tradition.

  2. Another nice post! You guys are amazing!

    Again, apologies for not leaving a comment earlier, but we had such dodgy internet in Kenya, it made doing anything difficult.

    Judging coming to a close so we'll post an announcement shortly and also details for November contest. Best of luck!