Día de los Muertos was more than I every could have possibly imagined!
I took the tour I had talked about, and 4 people from around London (who are also staying at the hostel) came as well. We had a really nice time together, and I had my first job as translator. The whole night was absolutely beautiful, and I was so lucky to visit 4 very traditional towns\cementarios. The people were so welcoming and proud to share their traditions with us. It was very mellow, with families eating, drinking, and talking around the graves. It´s amazing to see how they respond to death, as something to be accepted and respected as part of life. There doesn´t seem to be any fear involved. By 3am when we left, children were falling asleep, and they would just cuddle up between the graves or in open plots.
We went to (in order)
-Tzurumutaro-the most densely decorated, with marigolds and candles. The mounds on each grave are turned over that morning, and with all of the flowers on top, they bulge out from the earth by at least a foot and a half.
-Ihuatzio-We ate dinner here before walking out to the cementario. We ad traditional pozole, which we later heard an interesting story about... The villages in this area used to go to war and the winners would take their fallen enemies and cook them in pozole. But first, they would skin their bodies and dance around in the skins the display their defeat.
-Cucuchucho-Beautiful as well, there was a priest with a bull horn leading some sort of ceremony. I was watching until interupted by 4 drunk men who wanted to join my tour (we all know what they actually wanted. And MOM-My ´engagement ring´ served its purpose quite nicely, haha)
-Ucazanaztacua-just the pier where we left for Pacanda
-& Isla Pacanda-a small island where the people we´re still working on decorating when we got there, which was amazing to watch, and see how much happened in the hour we were there. I heard an older woman telling people that the grave she had decorated and was sitting at was for here 10 year ols son who had died. She seemed so happy to be there, and share her story. That ofrenda had several decorated sugar sculptures (like the calaveras, but in the shape of toys and engels). The graves here we´re smaller and each was lined by stones.
So, I´ve only slept for 4 hours, and will be going out the the large cementario in Morelia with Stacey tonight, and then to Yelapa tomorrow (if I make the water taxi on time). I´m not sure what my internet situation will be there, so if not sooner, you´ll hear from mw in a month.
I couldn´t be happier to be here; and look for postcards, hopefully they get there!