November 4, 2002
Death in Mexico
Wednesday was another long day on the bus as we continued our tour of Central Mexico. Our final stop (for a few days anyway) was Oaxaca. This beautiful city was gearing up for the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations from October 31 to November 2. According to a local woman, October 31 is when the children who have died come back to the world of the living to eat the smells from the altars. The next day, the adults spirits join those of the children. November 2, the spirits make their way back to the cemetery, where they will stay until the next year.
Friday, November 1, we went to a small town near Oaxaca and were allowed to take part in the procession through the
village. This was like no other procession Ive ever taken part in. There was a band that led the people from house to house where a play was performed re-enacting a persons death. There was dancing for two songs, a round or two of Metzcal, the local homemade liquor, and we headed on to the next house. Rumor had it that each of the houses we visited had lost a member in the past year. We dropped out of the procession around 1 in the morning, to eat the traditional Day of the Dead food: chicken molé, hot chocolate and sweet bread. As we left the town, we could still hear the band playing as they went from house to house.