Currently, every year on November 1st and 2nd, we celebrate with our dead relatives by remembering how they were while still alive. Many honor the dead by cleaning their graves and decorating them with flowers. They also make altars which usually include the picture of the deceased, traditional cempaxuchitl flower, papel picado, candles, water, religious images, personal articles, pan de muerto and even the deceased favorite dishes!
I remember when I was a little girl and lived in Zitacuaro, Michoacan, we would go with my mom to clean my granpa’s grave and decorated it with a huge flower crown. She would also take my sister and I to buy a sugar skull decorated with our names which we would happily devour =)
It had been 20 years since the last time I visited my grandpa’s grave! Although I have been organizing Day of the Dead celebrations in California with Latino families to help keep this tradition alive, this is the first time as an adult, that I celebrate it with my own dead loved ones in Mexico. This year, I was finally able to go to the cemetery and clean my granpa’s grave with my younger cousin, which was very special.
In Toluca, Edo. de Mexico, I also had the opportunity to visit my uncle’s grave who died 17 years ago. When we finished cleaning up his grave, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I remembered the happy moments I spent with him as a child. Although a grouch, my uncle was a child at heart =) He would send us to the corner store to buy candy for us to enjoy while watching cartoons like the Smurfs, Care Bears, She-Ra, He-Man and Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats!! Hahaha… Those were really happy times =)
Besides Michoacan and Edo de Mexico, this year I also had an awesome opportunity to spend Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. It was amazing to be at the cemetery at night, admiring the beautifully decorated graves and altars. We also got to sing with a mariachi while some even drank some mescal. Local artists also beautified the city with giant Calaveras and sand figures. My favorite were the Comparsas, parades on the streets, of people dressed up who danced with live banda music all night!
Check out my video “Comparsa de Dia de Muertos en Oaxaca” below.
I had always wished I could spend Day of the Dead in Mexico and this year it was unbelievable when it came true! Thanks to the Universe for granting me yet another wish!!