DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
DAY OF THE DEAD
OCTOBER 31 :: The souls of those that were killed or died of unnatural causes are remembered.
NOVEMBER 1 :: The souls of the children are honored with special designs in the altars, using the color white on flowers and candles
NOVEMBER 2 :: The souls of the adults are remembered. Schools and some offices and businesses are closed in Puerto Vallarta.
These are the days when art, religion, life, death, sadness and humor all come together in bright colors, tears and music. The dead are visited (or visit) and the living take the time to decorate and elaborate the past. The afterlife opens to the present. The graves are cleaned. The souls are refreshed.
IN PUERTO VALLARTA:
The Cemetary in the 5th of December Colonia is the site of traditional Day of the Dead observance. These are private celebrations that may go on all night, tho here in Vallarta, the celebrations do not compare to other parts of Mexico. The City of Puerto Vallarta is also sponsoring an altar competition with the entrants to be displayed on November 1 & 2 at the City Square at the Presidencia.
It is a time to make fun of death through calaveras, named sugar, chocolate or amaranth skulls that are given to friends so “they can eat their own death” with poetry allusive to a particular person (generally politicians).
Preparations start in the third week of October with the harvesting of the cempasuchitl, marigold (Tagetes erectus) flower, also known as the flower of the 20 petals or the flower of the dead. It is sold in the mercado, where the families also buy items for their altars, the ofrendas. Fruits, vegetables and special dishes are prepared for the soul to enjoy.
Before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, the people who lived in “Mexico” celebrated the return of the souls of their dead in the months of July and August. The Spanish authorities changed the fiestas to November 2 to coincide with All Souls’ Day of its Catholic Church. As with most indigenous religious practices in Mexico (and, in most of the Americas), this Church was unable to lure the practitioners away from their original faiths. It was only able to join them. In the hardcore Mexico of old, it was customary to dig up the bones of the deceased and to clean and polish them on this night of the Dead. Not many people do that now.