Skulls and orange flowers. Dia de los muertos in Mexico

So we happen to be in Mexico. It’s the beginning of November and definitely no trace of winter. But I do find some similarities with home. In the cemetery.

For the vast majority of November 1sts in my life I’ve gone to cemetery to light the candles on the graves of my relatives. The candles would twinkle beautifully in the dark, people would be silent and serious, freeze in the Novemember wind, and rush to warm homes after a little while. Only candles and mostly white flowers would linger on the tombstones.

Meanwhile in Mexico people also head to cemeteries around that time of the year. They seem to prefer orange flowers,though.

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And that’s the most modest part of the big cemetery in Guadalajara, where we ended up accidentally following orange flowers. Many people seem to put more efforts into this decoration activity.

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Orange colour plays an important role here. Unconsciously I start comparing this little flower meadow to the brownish sand or black pebbles usually covering the graveyards in Lithuania. I wonder if skull candles would be in demand for our “dia del muertos” – Vėlinės.

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Some grave altars are even more elaborate: including drinks, fruits, flags and figures. Quite some creativity put into it.

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The graves are higher than what I’m used to back home, and they serve conveniently like seats for the gathered family.

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Just sitting in the cemetery may be boring, for the real fiesta you need a musician. Loud tunes spread across the cemetery and create uplifting mood. Maybe just for me.

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I head out and observe the murals adorning the cemetery walls, featuring skulls and other creatures. And I ponder over how traditions form. How come we didn’t end up with orange flowers and more fun on Vėlinės?

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