Day of the Dead festivities have begun
November 1 and while all of the kiddies back up north have sated their sweet tooth and the candy has been confiscated to sate the parents’ sweet tooth, here in Patzcuaro the festivities have just begun.
I was in the graveyard at Ijuatzio at 7 a.m. to join the Purepecha villagers as their welcomed their “angelitos”, their children, back home for a visit and to gather supplies for the upcoming year. It is a precursor for tonight when the elders will be welcomed back. I’ll return to the graveyard for that celebration.
Throughout the day today, families have begun gathering in the cemeteries to decorate the graves of their families in marigolds and other flowers. Sometimes the graves are incredibly ornate; others are decorated more simply. The families also set out food, traditionally fruit, bread and water, so the souls of their ancestors will be fed for the next year in their world. Then they wait to greet them and commune with them
This annual ritual is based on the belief that the souls of the dead continue their existence in the other world, much as they did on earth. They continue to work and require physical sustenance.
This morning as I wandered around the graveyard and this afternoon in the Ztinztunstan graveyard, I spoke with many of the families about the souls their were remembering and greeting.
It was really touching to speak to young motherswho had recently lost a child. And a family remembering the loss of a child of six months old that died 20 years ago. Every year they came to the cemetery for the ritual. Later in the afternoon, people were remembering fathers in law and grandparents who had died.