Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Día de los Muertos: Romerillo, Chiapas

Beauty, color, family ...
Note: this was my first experience with Day of the Dead in Mexico. November 1, 2014.

How do you describe the indescribable? 

Beautiful … touching … colorful … raucous … reverent ... creative … disturbing … overwhelming … chaotic … charming. 

Maybe all you have to say is ... Day of the Dead in Mexico.

Outside of the village of Tenehapa in the Chiapas highlands, about 40 minutes by taxi from San Cristóbal, is Romerillo, a cemetery that was the center of activity for several thousand mainly Mayan celebrants of el Día de los Muertos today ... the day when the spirits of the ancestors are honored, wined and dined, and welcomed back to this world if only for a brief period.

Here are just a few word and picture glimpses into this most amazing day which was also shrouded in a cold cloud of mist  ...

Part wake, part carnival, part fiesta.
Glimpse: a woman pouring Coke onto the
grave of a loved one and
another one pouring “posh."
Incense burning on top of a pine-needle
and bright marigold-covered graves.
Glimpse: Heavy black wool skirts and tunics that are very labor intensive and stiff as well as beautiful, colorful hand sewn textiles.

Glimpse: 5-gallon containers, hundreds of used liter bottles and it seemed like thousands of single-serving soft drink bottles all filled with posh, the locally brewed rot gut.

Blue and green crosses
rising out of the mist at the top of the hill.

Well-worn wooden boards on top of graves
provide a “threshold” for the spirits
to come and go.
Click here for a musical moment.

Glimpse: a borracho (drunk) handing out peanuts to strangers.

Glimpse: Food … sold and shared … hundreds of vendors of peanuts, fruit, sugar cane, roasted potatoes, cake, tamales, pizza, and, of course, cerveza.

Back pocket "posh" bottle.
Glimpse: Being looked at in wonder and fear by children as if I were another color … but, of course, I am. I was one of the very few gringas in the crowd.

Glimpse: what happens when an event of several thousand people involving a lot of drinking does not provide porta-potties.
Colorful roving musicians.
Click here fora musical moment.
Glimpse: a hawker of bedding who sounded like an auctioneer and
went non-stop for over 30-minutes while my taxi-driver looked for one more passenger to round out his fare back to the city. Unfortunately, it was a young man who had obviously been participating in the celebration and wanted to smoke (I said "por favor ... no"). He also had to stop on the way back to town to relieve himself.

I wonder what the spirits
think of all this beauty and festivity?
A seven-year-old child drinking
“Sol” (cerveza) and offering it
to his playmates while adults stood about.

This morning when I contemplated not going to Romerillo today, I thought I knew what to expect. I didn’t … and I’m so glad I went. 

I also added my 70th "-ería" word to my list today. When I snapped the photo from inside the taxi on the way to Romerillo, I didn't know how appropriate it would be.

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