Dia de los Muertos, Puebla and others....





            November 2, Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday in Mexico that combines the costumes and kid stuff of our Halloween with the respectful thankfulness of Thanksgiving.  All souls day is what we call it in the US but it's not much of a national craze.  Dia de los Muertos is a huge Holiday in Mexico.  Most folks get 1-2 days off, depending on the day of the week - this year it was Thursday so many got Thur and Fri off.  The kids' costumes are mainly skeleton type of things, and fruits and vegetables.  There aren't many super hero or rock star costumes.

            The focus of the holiday is respect for the dead.  They create "ofrendas", a decorative offering for the dead.  An ofrenda can be in honor of one person, a group of people, or even a general ancestral offering.  Some are very detailed and artistic and others are very basic.  The most popular ofrendas are for a dead relative and include their favorite foods and hobbies.  Many families open their homes for others to come and view their ofrendas; they usually offer food and drink as well and it's an insult if you don't take it.  There are many ofrendas below.

            As part of the celebration of the dead they eat most of the food from the ofrendas.  They say that after November 2 the fruits and other foods  actually lose flavor because the souls of the dead came to eat the souls of the food on that day.  Cemeteries and grave sites are decorated with flowers and incense and some families will stay up all night at a relatives grave site.  Overall this holiday was a great experience and I'd certainly recommend a visit to Mexico that includes November 2.  It seemed to be a day of respectful reflection for most folks and they really welcome participation of outsiders.

            Included below are photos from Grandpa's memorial service.  It seemed appropriate to include them with photos from the day he began taking part in the holiday; he died on November 2.

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Girls taking part in the Dia de los Muertos event at "Casa de la Cultura" in Puebla, close to the zocolo

One of the many ofrendas of the day

Ofrenda - many of these designs are made from grains, beans and bird seed

My Spanish teacher from the Spanish Institute of Puebla. She's small but mighty!

This ofrenda was for a woman who's grandson claims that she died at 125 years of age. She doesn't look a day over 110 to me

Name tag from previous picture. I thought it was my bad Spanish but my teacher affirmed he was saying that she lived 125 years. Call Guinness.

More half-dead chicks at the event in Puebla

Superman Jr. guarding the incense

One of the many ofrendas

It was hard to tell if this ofrenda is for medical staff, patients or both

A more typical ofrenda with more food and beverage

Ofrenda for someone that seemed to like photography and booze. He was cool

The half dead girls are friendly

All ofrendas are very distinct

Poetic ofrenda

Dusty, from my language school, catching the action at the display event at Casa de Cultura in Puebla

Most kids get pretty excited about this vestive event. Then there's this kid

Typical kid costumes. Notice the little boy, just waving and happy to be there but the little girl wants something for her participation

An ofrenda for Frieda, famous Mexican artista. I know she's done many paintings but I've only seen her self portrait, with a fuzzy mustache

An ofrenda at a church in Atlixco. Church's have ofrendas for those who were very involved in church activities before they died

A beautiful ofrenda at a house in Atlixco. It took up their whole living room and was for the mother/ grandmother/ great grandmother of the house

At a cemetery in Tochimilco with Pulpocatelpetl [Pulpo] the volcano, in the background

Almost every single gravesite was decorated with fresh flowers and other things. This one and many others had incense burning

Tochimilco cemetery. The whole place smelled like fresh flowers and incense and there was a Mariachi band playing in the shade

Families decorating gravesites, it was very crowded here today (Nov. 2nd)


More gravesite decorating in Tochimilco

Grandpa and grandma's wedding picture (1929), and 60th wedding anniversary (1989)

At Grandpa's memorial service. His walking stick, left of the wed. pic. was used for many years of early morning bayfront walks

Very used fishing pole, and a bait bucket made by his fishing buddies with his pictures on it

1934, citizenship is now official

Family picture after the burial service, Friday Nov. 10. Upper left: Rex, Michael, Theresa, Anna, Gina, Greg. Lower: Chris, Dad, Mom, Rico Suave

Some of Grandpa's memorial photo's