In a couple days I fly home after five weeks in San Miguel de Allende. You know me…this place will appear in a book eventually. The Day of the Dead (actually a Week of the Dead), was the high point. I was especially interested in the ‘shrine’ concept. Every store, restaurant, hotel, and family develops a shrine to those who have died. Heavy use of marigolds, the ubiquitous skeleton, pictures of the dead, and foods enjoyed by the dead. Yes, even a plate of chicken enchiladas, loaves of bread, seeds, favorite cups, and plates. Unbelievably detailed. The Mexicans also decorate their cemeteries with bright flowers and seeds. So here are some pictures to illustrate how Mexicans celebrate Day of the Dead:
In a cemetery:
In a street near a church:
In a store (all made with seeds!)
My takeaway…I wish Americans had a ‘memory’ day. I think we’d benefit from the ritual. What do you think?
Speaking of memories. In June of 2013, I introduced myself to you; 33,000 words later, I’m saying goodbye. But since I don’t do farewells easily, I’ll concentrate on the ways we’ll continue to interact. I still want to tell you about my pre-order experience…I’m dying to ask you what you think of a book I have in mind. I’ve had some success with AMS, but all my campaigns have stalled lately. We definitely need to keep in touch and help each other with this crazy career!
As for my pre-order, click here to get the bargain dollar off before Dec. 4!
What gorgeous pictures. I guess the only memory day we do are for those who fell in military service. What does this say for our country? Another discussion. I know you'll find a great way to use this trip in a book!
That was my thinking, too. I agree our focus for memorializing is very limited. FYI, the Mexicans remember the children who died the first day of the dead, on the second everyone else gets remembered. I like that delineation. Yes, another discussion. Thanks for your enthusiasm about SMA as a book setting. Home tomorrow...glad of it!
Wow, they really know how to decorate down there. Very impressive. Maybe we don't have a general memorial day because so many Americans move around, leave their home town, etc. so they aren't in the place were family is buried. Possibly that's different in Mexico? Terrific photos!
OH, yes, Rolynn--perfect background for a thriller. You go, girl. But don't go too far--we must keep in touch.
Wow, what a fascinating blend of cheerful and downright macabre. I love how they remember their loved ones, especially the meals! I can imagine it can be bittersweet. Thanks for sharing your experience. When I read it in an upcoming book I'll know the background. :-)
Jannine, your reasons make sense. I don't know if the Mexicans are more home-bodyish than we are. The bright flowers are marigolds, so they make the scenes happy!
Thanks, Andy. We'll see with what I can do with an SMA setting. Did you know GI's went to art school here on the GI Bill after the war...started the art movement and influx of North Americans! I WILL keep in touch!
Thanks, Leah. Maybe I'll start with a meet cute...face-painted strangers. I was fascinated by the rituals, too. Seemed healthy to me (except for the displayed food rotting in the sun)...eek!
I've been fascinated by all your pictures of your trip. A day of remembrance (non-military) seems like a good idea, but I believe it's religion-based in Mexico, so that wouldn't work here.
Good point, Alison. Definitely a Catholic country. When I wrote the funeral planner series and studied different rituals for dealing with the dead, I was amazed at the range of requirements...most centered around preparing for the afterlife.
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