In the midst of traveling to Cedar City, Utah to find a place to live, and in addition to sorting, packing, and attending to a myriad of details regarding my move, I took a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico from October 25 to November 4th. This trip had been booked months before I even thought of moving, and by the time it rolled around, I was ready for a break and a nice vacation. The theme of the trip was “The Day of the Dead”, and was orchestrated by the Archaeological Conservancy. For a brief moment, I thought of canceling because I was so busy, but I am glad that I didn’t. The trip came off without a hitch, and everything went smoothly, which is a lot more than I can say for most of the trips I have been on!
This celebration is a really big deal down there, and it goes on for days. It is even more of a big deal than Christmas, and involves costumes and face painting, all with the skeleton and skull theme, marching bands and parades, lots of street vendors, dancing, and the all important visiting the graves of the dead in the cemeteries at night.
October 31st is the actual “Day of the Dead”, November 1st is “All Saints Day”, and November 2nd is “All Souls Day”. They like to cover all of the bases! In addition, each household, business, church, and government building creates an altar honoring those who have passed. These altars include photos of the deceased and fruit, flowers, bread, salt and water, and other edibles. Marigolds are everywhere, and are the main flower that is used to decorate the altars. They can be quite beautiful and elaborate. At the end of the celebration, anything that hasn’t started to spoil and rot is eaten by those who created the altar.
This trip wasn’t only about the “Day of the Dead” celebrations. We visited many archaeological sites including Monte Alban and Mitla. The state of Oaxaca is considered the artistic and craft center of the country, where the artistic talent of the child, no matter what that may be, is fostered and encouraged. So we visited local villages where people were dying yarn and weaving, carving and painting fanciful animals out of wood, making paper, painting murals, and creating a wide variety of pottery. Then there was the almost constant talented display of dancing, singing and playing of all sorts of instruments, especially during the many colorful parades we saw passing by.
On a humorous note, I like to refer to Oaxaca as the place where string cheese was invented. On our first day there, we toured the local market (more photos to follow). I couldn’t resist posting this photo of balls of string cheese on a counter. Like unraveling a ball of string, how do you find the place to start? It was very good cheese, too. Solid and chewy.
Anyway, I am pretty settled here in Cedar City now, and will start posting regularly again. So sorry for the big gap in posts! I’ll be posting on the trip to Mexico, and perhaps other interesting events in between. It will also take me a while to get back into my spiritual mode. Fortunately, where I am living now is very quiet and womb like. Just what I need for now!