Inspired by a El Dia de los Muertos Street Festival last year that I wrote about, I have created an altar(ofrenda) in my home. These altars are to remember and honor the dead. November 1 is All Saints Day and November 2 is All Souls Day. The Day of the Dead is celebrated November 2 although some seem to combine the two days.
Day of the Dead –
Paths of flower petals and
burning incense guide
spirits to the house of the living.
Tables with favorite food and drink.
orange and yellow flowers,
all offered to the spirits.
Then the living go to
graves of the dead.
Custom says ill fortune, illness
death or worse
those who make no offerings.
Who will decorate my grave?
Who will bring me food?
Who will talk to me?
Cremation may be best f or me.
Below is a closer look at my orfenda The pocket knife is for my father; the clip earrings for my mother; the wine bottle for another relative; the carnations for a friend; matches with Mexican Loteria characters for those that loved to gamble; sage for cleansing. I needed marigolds! Maybe next year.
MAY THEIR SOULS FIND THEIR WAY TO MY ORFENDA EVEN IF ONLY IN MY HEART.
Dead of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in parts of the United States that honors the dead. Traditions include making private ofrendas (altars) to remember and honor the dead and visiting graves with gifts for the departed. A form of it was celebrated in Mexico prior to Spanish colonization and was gradually integrated into the Catholic church’s holidays, All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2).
On October 29 Husband and I attended El Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in downtown Corpus Christi. Here are photos by Husband, of course.
Entering the festival on a beautiful afternoon.
Ofrendas (altars) were set up in an old movie theater, the Rialto. This was a public one where people could participate by bringing photos, gifts, chrysanthemums or remembrances of loved ones.
This ofrenda was not traditional but it was playfully wicked.
Flowers and fruit were left out for Harambe, the gorilla who was shot in a Cincinnati zoo this year to save a child.
This beautiful one was for Abraham Lincoln.
This more traditional ofrenda honored many deceased family members.
For a token donation for the restoration of the Rialto Theater, one could choose a paper flower and write a message in memory a loved one. I left a message for a niece who would have appreciated the art.
A happy face!
A handsome hombre!
Not a typical festival couple.
What is a festival without a car show?
Ready to rock and roll!
Mural on the tunnel from uptown to downtown Corpus Christi.
A native American Indian group performed songs accompanied by drums. At the end the older leader reminded us that we are all brothers of this Earth and that we should care of each other as we take care of our home, Earth. We should all be able to agree with that.
In June of 1991 Husband and I took a train from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Monterrey, Mexico. The cars were not air-conditioned except for the club car where it was cool and the cervazas were cold.
Husband reluctantly posing for me between cars.
View of Saddleback Mountain from the roof of our hotel.
Neptune Fountain at the Gran Plaza or Macroplaza
Faro del Comercio (Lighthouse of Commerce), a column 230 feet high and 40 feet wide erected to commemorate 100 years of the founding of the Monterrey Chamber of Commerce. At night it was lit by laser.
Note the admonition on the building to “Vote like this – PRI – on July 7.” The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) continued to hold political power in Mexico for seventy years until 2000 when Vicente Fox with PAN (National Action Party ) was elected President of Mexico. Today the PRI has gained back some power with the election of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
The Bishop’s Palace sits on a hill in heart of the city. Built in 1787-90 it was involved in the Mexican-American War as U.S. forces under General Zachary Taylor stormed up the steep hill and overwhelmed the Mexican garrison at the top on September 22, 1846. Now it is a museum – The Regional History Museum. One can drive or walk up to it. We walked and the view of the city was worth it.
Courtyard inside the Bishop’s Palace
The white in the distance is a cemetery. Beyond that is the industrial part of Monterrey.
In the fall of 1989 as part of a class that I took on Mexican folk medicine, I went to Espinazo, Mexico to celebrate anniversary of the death of a curandero(healer), El Nino Fidencio. He died in 1938. All the photos were taken with a disposable camera.
Railroad station in Espinazo
Boys coming into town
This man said he had worked on a ranch in Texas;
I shared my Swisher Sweet cigars with him.
A group fidencistas coming into Espinazo for the festivities;
they carry a banner with Fidencio’s photo.