Needing a place to rest was foremost in my mind when I chose to return to Mexico. Also at the top of the list was affordability. Mexico remains a place where I can eat three meals a day, have a cup of coffee, buy a newspaper and spend less than fifteen dollars; most days around six dollars.
Since San Miguel was the major focus of my first trip to Mexico, I decided to make it my home base and explore other beautiful towns and cities Mexico has to offer on days trips or weekends. As I am typing this, more than a month into my stay, I realize I have not explored outside of San Miguel yet. This town takes a hold of your heart and won’t let go!
San Miguel has become the wedding capital of Mexico. Weekends are made for wedding parties. Wedding parties parade throughout the neighborhood and community to pay homage to those in the community who have been a part of raising one or both of the celebrating couple. The processionals go through the neighborhood on the way to the church and then another processional on the way to the reception. Sometimes I tag along other times I just pull out my camera and take a few photos. Hopefully the video below will open. This was a wedding party that passed while I was sitting on my favorite bench outside of Juarez Park. This happens so often I didn’t even get up to shoot the video. For those of you from New Orleans I know you are thinking second-line. Well it is just like a second-line except they are not celebrating the life of someone who has died, they are celebrating a marriage. What fun!
Another Wedding party I stumbled upon on my way home.
Dias de los Muertes – Day of the Dead
Making sure to arrive for the day of the dead was important. I had so much fun last year I decided that this celebration is one I want to experience as often as possible. If you are not familiar with the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico, think All Saints Day on steroids. Celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, it’s a two day festival held on November 1 and 2. It is celebrated throughout Latin America and is mostly associated with Mexico. Lively festivals and celebrations abound. The indigenous people have their own beliefs about honoring the dead. They believe that at midnight on October 31 (has nothing to do with Halloween) for 24 hours the gates of heaven open up and the dead come down to mingle with their loved ones. On November 2nd there are festivities and the spirits come down to enjoy the celebration.
In San Miguel the first day is the celebration in the main square with painted faces, song, dance and various neighborhood parades moving slowly to the town center.
Although I had a ball last year, celebrating this year with my friends Marta and April, my sisters from another mother, was very special. As you can see in the pictures it was a glorious day. On the first night of the celebration we had dinner and throughout dinner we took turns talking about loved ones who have passed and their impact on our lives. I think every family should do a celebration of the dead. It was a fantastic evening. Gracias mis amigos.
The Three Amigos at breakfast
Here we are ready for Dias de los Muertos
Day 1 – Day of the Dead
This year you see more pictures of me and my friends than last year. That is because every ten feet or so we were stopped because someone wanted to take pictures of us or they wanted to take pictures with us. It was so cool! I didn’t have time to take pictures of everyone else. There is such a calm and loving spirit surrounding the Day of the Dead celebrations.
Faces of the Children
Seeing the children’s painted faces and their eagerness to celebrate is my favorite part of the Day of the Dead. They are so cute!
Shrines around the City
During the Day of the Dead shrines are everywhere. Shrines are found in homes, businesses and in the jardins (gardens) around the city. Look closely in the top row middle picture you will see Marta showing the shrine she made in honor of her family members who have passed away. I felt blessed that she shared it with us before we all headed to the cemetery. Next year I may do a mini shrine in my apartment. It is such a lovely way to honor those you loved while they were here on earth.
Day 2 – Day of the Dead at the Cemetery
The celebration is a beautiful sight to behold especially in the cemeteries. As a child All Saints Day meant going to the cemetery to clean up family graves or tomb sites and leaving fresh flowers. In Mexico, add mariachi bands, picnics, food, drinks, a massive amount of flowers, items representing the things the loved one enjoyed, and you have yourself a Day of the Dead celebration at the cemetery and throughout the community.
Hanging out in San Miguel
Adios Dias de los Muertes until next year!