Mexico Cooks! '
will be, Prepare for death and follow me.
... from a tombstone
What is death? We know its first symptoms: the heart stops pumping, breath and brain activity stop. We know death's look and feel: a still, cold body from which the spirit has fled. The orphan and widow know death's sorrow, the priest knows the liturgy of the departed and the prayers to assuage the pain of those left to mourn. But in most English-speaking countries, death and the living are not friends. 'We do not know what to do', but we do not know what to say about it. Octavio Paz, Mexico City's.
Nobel Laureate poet and essayist who died in 1998, is famously quoted as saying, "In New York, Paris, and London, the word death is never mentioned, because it burns the lips." >
Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán pantheon (cemetery), Mexico Cooks! photo. These fellows sing to the fleshless woman on November 2, 2009.
November 2013 altar to La Santa Muerte (Holy Death), Sta. Ana Chapirito (near Pátzcuaro), Michoacán. In Mexico, death is also in the midst of life. In Mexico, death is also present in the midst of life.
We see our dead, alive as you and me, each November, when we wait at our cemeteries for those who have gone before to come home, if only for a night. That, in a nutshell, is Night of the Dead : the Night of the Dead.More news: Lavender Flowers
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In the lower center portion of this photograph, you can see the Quiroga, Michoacán, municipal cemetery (town cemetery). Late in the afternoon of November 1, 2013, most townspeople had not yet gone to the cemetery with candles and flowers for their loved ones' graves. Over the course of the last 30-plus years, Mexico Cooks! has been countless Noche de Muertos > events, but none as mystical, as spiritual, or as profoundly magical as that of 2013. Invited to accompany a small group on a private tour in Michoacán, I looked forward to spending three days enjoying the company of old and new friends. A magnificent Purépecha offering (in this case, a home altar) in the village of Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacán. This detailed and lovely offering was created to the memory of the family maiden aunt, who died at 74. Because she had never married, / em> (little angel) -like an innocent child-and her spirit was called home to the family on November 1, the day of the angels . Be sure to click on the photo to see the details of the altar. Fruits, breads, incense, salt, flowers, colors, and candles have particular symbolism and are necessary parts of the offering.
Preparing a family member's offering (altar) in the cemetery in the village of Arócutin, Michoacán. The cemetery, literally, holy ground-is a cemetery contained within the walls of a churchyard. The candles used in this area of Michoacán are hand made in Ihuatzio and Santa Fe de la Laguna.
Come with me along the unlit road that skirts the Lake Patzcuaro Lake Pátzcuaro . It's chilly and the roadside weeds are damp with the rain, but for the moment the sky has cleared and filled with stars. Up the hill on the right and down the slope leading to the lake are tiny villages, dark but for the glow of tall candles lit one by one in the cemeteries. Tonight is November 1, the night silent souls wend their way home from Mictlán, the land beyond life.
At the grave: candlelight to illuminate the soul's way, cempazúchitl marigolds) for their distinctive fragrance required to open the back path home, smoldering copal (frankincense) to cleanse the earth and air of any remnants of evil, covered baskets of the deceased's favorite foods. And a low painted chair, where the living can rest through the night.
Waiting through the night. This is grave (grave) refused to be photographed head-on. From an oblique angle, the tomb allowed its likeness to be made.
"Oh grave, where is thy victory?
One by one, grave by grave, golden cempazútchiles give shape to rock-bound tombs and long candles give light to what was dark and lonely place, transforming the cemetery into a glowing garden. How could a soul resist this setting in its honor?
"Our hearts remember" ... "we promise the dead. Church bells toll slowly throughout the night, calling souls home with their distinctive clamor (death knell). Come ... come home . Come ... come home .
Watching. Prayers. I do not forget you, my beloved old man. (I have not forgotten you, my dear old man.)