Saturday, November 8, 2008

Curt and Judy Webber Return to Mexico for Dia de Los Muertos!

Curt and Judy Webber, from Auburn, Maine, were our first visitors when we moved to Mexico in 2007. They enjoyed everything about Mexico and decided to return here this year for the Day of the Dead celebration. Last year, Pixie had a broken foot and could not get around very well. Well, this year we discovered another element of the celebration. I knew that the people decorated the graves and gathered there to eat, drink, and celebrate through the night. What I didn't know about was the tradition of creating public altars to honor their dead as well. One street in Chapala is set aside each year for these public altars. The altar usually has a photo of the dead relative, along with marigolds, which is supposed to make the passage easier for the dead person to revisit the living. The altar often has things the person enjoyed in life, like tequila, beer, special foods, or items which represent the activities of the dead, like guitars, saddles, or needlework. Some altars also feature a wash basin and mirror, so the dead person can "freshen up" when he or she returns for a visit. They are very creative; some are quite elaborate. Here are some examples:

Many young people here are not as into the sacred tradition of Day of the Dead as their elders are. My students told me they think it is a little over the top. But that does not prevent them from using the occasion to dress up, as Americans do on Halloween, and I saw lots of them celebrating with costumes and music within the altars:

On the right is Maria Elena, our maid, posing with a young reveler. Maria Elena built an elaborate altar with yellow crosses, pictured below. When we stopped by she showed us all the details and gave us fresh pineapple tamales to take with us.

We celebrated the Day of the Dead at our UU fellowship, where we remembered our relatives who had died. Pictured below are Curt and Judy at the service and the altar we used:
A few other bits: Pixie and I returned to Guadalajara Thursday to have our drivers licenses upgraded to four-year licenses, hassle-free with Fernando again. Tonight we are headed into the Degollado Theatre in Guadalajara to see the ballet. This theatre is a beautiful neo-classical building modeled after the La Scala opera theatre in Milan. This will be the first show we've seen there, and it is Pixie's birthday gift. I'm not so reluctant to drive into Guad. these days, as long as I know where we're going. Since the theatre is in the old historic district, I do know how to get there.

And finally....of course...the

Big News we are all celebrating this week:

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