This the really muy grande day where the locals pull out all the stops to clean up, decorate, adorn with in some cases very lavish floral offerings and convene with family members at the cemetery.
Two years ago, I had been fortunate enough to visit first hand Dia de Muertos. Sadly most of the pictures I took then were lost forever with the stolen IPad unless they were emailed or posted on Facebook. I went to both the Ajijic cemetery and Cinco de Mayo Calle in neighboring Chapala where about four continuous blocks are set up with family shrines on both sides of the street.
Here in SMA the Plaza Principal hosted the major public shrines and then people went to one of three cemeteries. After a quick Internet search I hopped a five peso local bus from Centro to the panteon/ cemetery just behind Hotel Real de Minas. Easy to locate. Just follow the crowds. I had read somewhere that a thoughtful gesture was to bring some flowers to the foreigner section of the cemetery which presumably was not lavishly decorated and adorned . So on my way to Centro I bought some long stem marigolds
I am glad I did this because having them in my hand deflected the countless flower sellers operating in an ad hoc marketplace ringing the cemetery. Besides flower sellers there were lots of food outlets, one of which was a pizza place doing a brisk business. I sat down briefly for a 15 peso slice just to look around and get my bearings.
There were a few but not a whole lot of gringos in the continually moving river of people going by. I had a rest then proceeded to the graveyard proper. I must say that they were prepared for the hordes because the main sidewalk had been roped off dividing those entering and leaving Because I was there a bit later in the afternoon I was able to walk and observe quite freely in the different zones in the cemetery. I was on the lookout but actually did not find the foreigner zone.
What I did find was yes the requisite mariachi band but also quite a lively country and western band sporting electric blue cowboy attire.
Everywhere, there were families and extended families standing around the graves of their loved ones, talking, laughing, crying; exhibiting a whole range of emotions. Certainly my emotions were activated by the touching scenes and I didn’t even know anyone there living or dead! Walking around the various zones, though, I did notice that here and there there were some unadorned graves. I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘ but where were THEIR families?’ Had they moved away? Had they moved on?
Well, after walking around the zones with the ‘rack ’em and stack ’em’ quadruple level crypts I spotted one that only had a large rusty can in front. Joseohina, age 18, Recuardo a su familia y esposo. Remembered by your family and husband.
Sadly, she apparently had not been remembered by either.
Here’s to you, Josephina. You had a very short life but I pray that there were some truly joyful years. I can’t remember you but I am thinking of you and you deserve some flowers just like everyone else.