Today was a super busy day starting with chores in Centro this morning then I walked to the restaurant where we played poker....always enjoy this time and I think I had the best win for many years I won 315 pesos!!!!
After poker a quick walk to the gym to meet Aaron and work out for one hour and then off across the street to my English class.......
As it was Halloween 🎃 night we just had fun and played twenty questions all night..... they loved it and also the chocolate afterwards ...what a great bunch of friends I have for students!!!
Below tells you about the huge celebrations coming up..
Mexico’s Day of Dead: a celebration of life
Far from being a morbid event, Day of Dead emphasizes remembrance of past lives and celebration of the continuity of life. This acknowledgement of life’s continuity has roots which go back to some of Mexico’s oldest civilizations including the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, and Purépecha. The Aztecs also celebrated Day of the Dead, although earlier (August) on the current calendar.
Local festivities and traditions vary from place to place, although the ofrendas (see below) are the focal point of the celebrations and can be spotted everywhere during the festive period. Some towns and cities hold religious processions, and some of the participants may use face paint and costumes to emulate Catrinas (see below).
Although Halloween (October 31) and Dia de los Muertos (Nov 1 & 2) are, strictly speaking, two distinct events, in recent times the two festive dates have blended into each other illustrating how Mexico is very adept at assimilating foreign things without losing its own identity and often putting a particularly Mexican stamp on them.
La Ofrenda: an altar of remembrance
Local families will plan for Day of the Dead celebrations days, weeks, or perhaps even a whole year in advance. A focal point of the remembrance ritual is families creating ofrendas—altars with offerings to the deceased—which are set-up in homes or public spaces like parks or plazas, and also at local cemeteries where family members are buried.
These colorful altars, which are also an art form and personal expression of love towards one’s family members now passed, are not for worshiping but instead for the purpose of remembrance and celebration of a life lived.
They are usually layered: the uppermost layer contains a picture or pictures of the remembered deceased as well as religious statues or symbols, especially that of La Virgen Guadalupe; the second layer will contain the ofrendas: toys are usually offered for deceased children, and bottles of tequila, mezcal, or atole for deceased adults. Personal ornaments, and/or the deceased’s favorite food or confection will also be present here, as will Pan de Muerto (see below). The third, or lowest, tier will feature lit candles, and some might also have a washbasin and a towel so that the spirits of the deceased may refresh themselves upon arrival at the altar.
Every altar will feature calaveras – decorated candied skulls made from sugar – as well as the bright orange marigolds or cempazuchitl – sometimes called flor de muerto (“Flower of the Dead”) – one of the iconic symbols seen during Day of the Dead celebrations throughout Mexico.
During the celebratory period, it’s traditional for families to visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried, to clean and to decorate the graves with the similar offerings to those included in the home’s altar.
Catrinas: artistic symbol of Day of the Dead celebrations
The character on which La Calavera Catrina — “The elegant skull” — is based was conceived by Mexican engraver José Guadalupe Posada. The original Catrina was titled La Calavera Garbancera: in the form of an artistic etching in zinc, composed for use as political satire around 1910, intended to poke fun at a certain social class of Mexicans who the artist portrayed as having European-aristocratic aspirations—thus the Catrina’s archetypal grandiose plumed hat of a style which passed through a period of high fashion in Europe during that age. This related article explains the history and culture of Catrinas in Mexico.
Pan de Muerto and hot chocolate: omnipresent partners during this time of year
One of the culinary highlights of the season is Pan de Muerto — Bread of the Dead — which is a semi-sweet sugar-dusted bread made from eggs and infused with natural citrus fruit flavors. It’s traditionally taken with hot chocolate that has been mixed with cinnamon and whisked, and makes for a flavorful and warming blend on a chilly November evening. Learn how to best enjoy Pan de Muerto in Mexico.
Pátzcuaro and Oaxaca: Popular towns to celebrate, with plenty of color elsewhere too
Day of the Dead is a holiday that attracts a certain fascination for visitors from abroad, and enjoyed by foreign residents who witness the unfolding of local festivities in their adopted towns and villages each year. Celebrations in the colonial city of Oaxaca and the ancient highland town of Pátzcuaro are particularly well attended by foreign visitors, and an early booking for local accommodations is vital if you want to experience Day of the Dead at either of these places.
Even if you can’t get to Oaxaca or Pátzcuaro, you’ll discover that towns and villages across Mexico compose their own interpretations of the event to celebrate Day of the Dead, and so wherever you are in Mexico this time of year, you’ll have an opportunity to experience this distinctive celebration—one of the most colorful, poignant and atmospheric Mexico offers.
The precise ceremonies, offerings, and customs for Day of the Dead celebrations vary by region and town, but the essential traditions described here are an integral part of the event which is echoed all over Mexico. A visit to a local cemetery, where family graves are dressed with color and decorations, a local park or plaza where ofrendas have been gathered, or a glimpse into one or more of the local homes which are opened-up to visitors during this period and where the lives of those past are lovingly remembered by those present, is a rewarding and worthwhile cultural experience to behold.
This is always a fun evening for me because even though the Mexican children do not celebrate Halloween because of all the expatriates in town every kid it seems come to the central Jardin in costume and await all the candy they collect......
The Jardin was packed and I had spent 200 pesos on a huge bag of candy and I knew from previous years what was going to happen as soon as I joined the throngs of people I was surrounded by kids and I started handing out candy and I was swamped and all the candy was gone in just under three minutes....I really did not have time to look up or take photos but I was happy that most of the children thanked me some even in English......a great night!!!