All of Mexico is famed for its Day of the Dead festivities. Living here in Taxco, I must say that this is one of my favorites too. The excitement begins about a week before the holiday as the market changes almost overnight. There are vendors selling candles by the kilo. Others are selling handmade candies in animal shapes--some are whole families sold in little baskets, a mother chicken and her pullets all decorated with candy flowers. There are plastic ornamental skeletons for your car and pop up skeletons for your desk. Special flowers are raised for this occasion and they are piled up high everywhere; brilliant orange yellow marigolds large and small are our favorites. Tiny replicas of the feast to come are also plentiful, each carrying the unique hand of its creator.
To see more of these wonderful creations just click Here!)
It is not too late to make reservations from wherever you are to Mexico to share in the enjoyment and wonder of these marvelous days. We hope to see you here in Taxco at the Panteón, our local graveyard. What follows is something I wrote to pique your interest in being with us for this year’s celebration.
Visiting the Panteón a few days ahead of the Day of the Dead already a few people were there cleaning and painting their family grave plots. Most of the plots were in disarray looking forlorn in the hot sun, blinding as it bounced back from the white painted stones. Many of the grave markers were crudely hand painted with the words, "en perpetuidad," in perpetuity. In just a day or so it would be a very different place.
Today the Panteón was magical, filled with people who had spent hours of their time and lots of their meager money to buy flowers and candles and foods for their lost loved ones. They had twined flowers through gratings, they had painted the stonework and bricks, they had brought framed photos of the lost ones to hang and commemorate. Flowers were arranged in every conceivable way, petals used to make a cross, formal arrangements of roses in proper vases, bundles of marigolds of all sizes and colors lain on the grave sites. And there were candles, those recently lit and those that had burned for hours or even a few days.
Yet rarely is there a show of emotional loss; that is reserved for the recently dead and even then displays of emotions are restrained. Bands of musicians are hired to play a song for the spirits. Those that have paid for the service sometimes aren't even there at the time the band arrives, plays the music, and leaves. It truly is a gift for the departed to enjoy.
The foreign section of the main graveyard lies on the right side of the small old church. There are several foreigners buried here including William Spratling who was buried against the wishes of those who had paid for the plots in this separate section or so rumor has it. Flowers had been laid on each of these plots as if someone had bought several different types of flowers and divided them among the foreigners. There was no art in the flower arrangements and there was none of the warm caring or cariño so evident in other areas of the graveyard. None of the foreign residents had left a legacy of warmth and regard, though someone still had enough respect to provide them with a little something. It appeared that someone had been paid to do the job or perhaps someone of poor means and little time had tried to honor these spirits.
when we go to the Panteón, we chat amiably
about what foods
we would bring for each other when the time comes. For my husband
Stasis, I would bring chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream and
a bottle of one of those 400 years old brandies. I will have lasagna
and a fine bottle of gin. We'll pay the forever fee and hope that we
have earned a fond place in the hearts of our friends here. We hope that
they will have music played and that they will bring flowers and candles
because we will for all time want to revisit this place we call home.