Holiday for the Dead

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm

One of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in my life: burial niches in Oaxaca’s Panteon San Miguel lighted with 3,000 votive candles.

Panteoon San Miguel, Oaxaca

Mexico’s Day of the Dead holiday is a unique celebration of All Soul’s Day, November 1, and All Saints’ Day, November 2. Combining pre-Columbian indigenous beliefs and practices with those of the Catholic Church, this is a holiday that celebrates departed loved ones by inviting them back to this world.
This is done both at home with specially-made ofrendas (altars) on which favorite food, drink, photos and objects are placed. As many cempasúchitl (marigolds), the traditional flower of the dead, as can be afforded are also placed on the ofrenda.
And relatives clean and decorate graves for the holiday. In many places in Mexico this becomes an all night affair with liquor, live music, and candles everywhere. It’s a very happy intersection between the living and the dead.

The cemeteries are very alive.

Municipal Cemetery, Oaxaca

And very beautiful.

Gravesite in Ocotepec, Mexico


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