Day of the Dead Celebration

For years we have wanted to visit Mexico on All Saints Day,
November 1-2, also known as the Day of the Dead.

We start out in Guanajuato, the capital of Gunajuato state where we take a three-week Spanish language class in a school on this street.
street colors
Guanajuato is an old silver mining town with bright colored buildings, and curving, narrow streets along steep hillsides.
Our hotel.
Guanajuato, Mexcio

Under the town there is a maze of tunnels.

Tass photographing Guanajuato tunnels
We love exploring the tunnels and taking timed exposures of the vehicles as they passed by us.
street sign and traffic in tunnel
We find signs and intersections, bus stops and parking areas, all with stairs to reach different parts of the town.
tunnel arches

Some of the tunnels are a mile long, others only a few hundred yards. The older tunnels have beautiful brick work and elaborate arched ceilings.

boy driving carnival bus
Guanajuato is known for having nearly constant festivals and celebrations. This boy is "driving" a bus on a carnival ride.
Cervantes Festival singers

In the evening groups of minstrels parade through the streets playing music, followed by flocks of tourists enjoying the entertainment. Most of October is a celebration in honor of Cervantes, the author who wrote Don Quixote. The singers above are dressed from his era.

masked dancer
A popular folk dance uses masks portraying old men and the humorous challenges of growing old.
Day of the Dead skeleton art work

In the week leading up to Day of the Dead, folk art skeletons are portrayed relaxing in chairs, driving taxis, dancing, playing cards, watching TV, and even getting married. The skeletons are not meant to be scary, like our Halloween. Instead, they are representatives of those who have died, and the celebration is more like our Memorial Day.

sugar coffins and sekeltons

Decorations made of sugar are placed on altars made in homes or stores, or on the graves. These coffins are made of sugar. Pull the string and the skeleton pops its head out the hole in the coffin.

skeletons attending gravesite

Skeletons decorate a grave site in the corner of a store.

Although Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico, many of the customs first originated long ago in the state of Michoacan, and the celebration remains especially important to the people of that region today.
As November 1st grows closer, we head for the town of Patzcuaro in Michoacan.
flowers at graveyard
In the village of Tzintzuntzan the cemetery is filled with flowers and decorations.
woman at candle lite grave
In the evenings people come to the cemetery to hold all night vigils and celebrations to honor the dead.
grave offerings

The graves are covered with offerings of food and drink that was enjoyed by those who have died.

We spend the night exploring three different cemeteries and don't get back to our hotel until five o'clock the next morning.

Day of the Dead is one of the most interesting and memorable nights of our life.




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