October 31, 2015-Dia de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead. It’s three days of holidays honoring the dead in Mexico and it kicks off on Halloween. We heard that the locals would be building private altars using sugar skulls and marigolds and placing on them the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. We also knew there would be Halloween parties at some of the local expat bars over the course of the weekend, but nothing seemed exciting enough to get us in the mood to venture out. On Friday night, to top off the gloom, it was raining. We planned to stay home the whole weekend.
But at 6:30PM Friday a sudden radio announcement broke the silence: “A Day of the Dead ceremony will be held at the altars to the dead, in Marina, at 7:30. Dancing of the Dead Catrinas will be featured.”
This was a surprise; we hadn’t heard anything about it, and it was pretty short notice.
And what ARE the Dead Catrinas? We looked it up: “La Catrina has become the referential image of Death in Mexico, it is common to see her embodied as part of the celebrations of Day of the Dead throughout the country;” There were photos of skeletons dressed as women.
I said that it might be a good photo opportunity despite the rain (it was still raining pretty much cats and dogs).
Judy said, “Go ahead, I’ll do the dishes and get a movie ready.”
So I pulled on some long pants (just to honor the dead), put a long lens on the Nikon, and headed off to town in the rain.
Well, I found the altars and the favorite foods and beverages and the ceremony which was already in progress. It wasn’t much, just a few dancers braving the rain and the “Dead Catrinas” huddled under a tent nearby. What with the dreary weather and the late notice there wasn’t much of a crowd either. And, from a photographer’s point of view, there wasn’t much in the way of light. There was music, there were dancers, but there were darn few lights around. I started shooting anyway; maybe I could get a few shots.
The lights that were there disappeared when the first act packed up their stuff and left and I realized that any more photos were going to be pretty much impossible. I wondered if I should rethink my abhorrence of artificial light and buy a flash unit someday; there are times, I thought.
I used the light on my phone once or twice. Well, I tried, it seemed feeble.
It was a short ceremony and it was over quickly.
People drifted away. I went back to Wings.
Things are low key in La Cruz.
We like it that way.
Click here for more photos.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle