As I worked on the posting for November 2 - All Soul's Day - one of those little memory drawers opened and I recalled a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) fiesta back in 1987. Laurent was in Mexico City on his first posting. I was able - through juggled work schedules and thanks to working for an airline - to get down for a month at a time once every two or three months. We were lucky - the peso was low, the economy booming and despite the death and destruction that the 1986 earthquake had caused, the city and country was vibrant and bustling.
Part of learning about the culture was realizing that the images of death were always present - as a theme it ran through art, music, religion and folk traditions. The strange mixture of Aztec and Christian traditions that in another place would seem dark and unduly fatalistic here had an openly sardonic irony that was in so many ways healthier than that Anglo-Protestant fear of death I grew up with.
In Mexico death was part of life and at no time was that more apparent than on the Feast of the Dead. And in particular in the small town of San Andrés Mixquic just south of Mexico City in the Distrito Federal. It is a three day event there - part street fair, part carnival and part honouring the dead by families and friends. Many of the traditions are common to most towns and villages - the bread of the dead, the sugar skulls and strange skeleton figures but in Mixquic they are know for the decorations on the graves and the traditional altars to loved ones set up in homes. Families work on elaborate floral mosaics and prepare graves with candles and incense for a Feast with their Dead.
I did not take many photos that day but I think this one was perhaps the best and seemed to sum up so much of what the day was about.
A left click will take you to a short slide show of a few of the other photos that were taken that day.
05 novembre - Beato Guido Maria Conforti