Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dia de losMuertos y La Catrina

Last year this time, we were sailing down the Pacific Mexican coast, heading from San Diego on the 750 mile trek to Cabo San Lucas.  Halloween night was a blur, except there were a few decorations on Shindig, candy and caffeine to fuel night shifts.  This Halloween time was a great contrast, being in the town of La Paz, and enjoying Halloween, plus the Day of the Dead celebrations.  Festivities in La Paz started on Halloween night, with families strolling the Malecon in costume, candy and trick or treating. Mexicans celebrate Dia de Los Muertos November 1 and 2nd.  We asked for a special night shuttle from the marina to drive us up to the Teatro de Cuidad, where we'd heard there would be decorated booths, and a contest of Catrinas.  According to Mexican folklore, the Catrina represents the Death in Mexico, and girls and women dress up in elaborate costumes.
Outside, we strolled through many decorated alters ,with colorful flags, sugar skulls, yellow marigolds, pictures of favorite saints, and beloved lost ones.  Coincidentally, the Escuela de Musica was having their final youth orchestra concert inside the Teatro de Cuidad. We got passes into the big theatre and sat in the upper seating area, listening to several of the orchestra's pieces.  It was fun to see many of Nancy's new music friends on stage, as well as be a part of the audience, mainly young children, who were going to a concert for the first time. Lots of show tunes and other contemporary music was shared.  When we went outside, the night festivities were ramping up.  There were groups of costumed kids performing western dancing up on the stage.  The crowds were forming as young girls and women, dressed as Catrina, walked slowly among us, posing for pictures.  Even the youngest ones were eerily solemn, aided by their elaborate facial makeup.
The next days festivities were similar.  During the late afternoon, we drove by a local cemetery, and the streets were crowded with double parked cars with people darted in and out of traffic.  They were gathering there to honor their loved ones.  It was a very festive occasion, a true Celebration of Life.
One of the decorated alters
Coca-cola is a favorite drink here

Up close with un Perro (dog) Skeleton

Even ghosts play the fiddle

These were larger than life models

This Catrina was no more than 8 years old

Large stage and crowds voting for Catrinas

This young girls Catrina was one of the favorites

John (SV Time Piece) and Catrina 

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