Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead after pandemic closes| Breaking News Updates
Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead after pandemic closes
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But the year-long hiatus showed how tradition itself refuses to die: Most families still celebrated with altars at home for their deceased loved ones, and some have crept into cemeteries anyway.
Gerardo Tapia Guadarrama joined many other people at the cemetery on Sunday as he visited the grave of his father Juan Ignacio Tapia, who died in May 2020 of a thrombosis.
Even though Mexico’s cemeteries were closed to visitors last year to avoid spreading the virus, the tradition is so strong that her son has always slipped into the cemetery of Valle de Chalco in the eastern suburbs of Mexico City, to visit him.
“Last year it was banned, but we found a way,” Tapia Guadarrama said slyly. Much of the cemetery has low walls that can be jumped over.
“To live is to remember,” he said. “What they (the dead) want the most is a visit from their loved ones in life.”
The holiday begins on October 31, remembering those who died in accidents; it continues on November 1 to mark those who died in childhood, then those who died in adulthood on November 2.
The celebrations include entire families cleaning and decorating the graves, which are covered in orange marigolds. In the two cemeteries and on the altars of the houses, relatives light candles, present the offerings of the favorite foods and drinks of their deceased relatives.
There was a special altar in downtown Mexico City dedicated to those who died from COVID-19. Relatives were allowed into a fenced plaza and offered materials to print photos of loved ones, which they could then pin, along with handwritten messages, to a black wall.
It was a calm and solemn memory in a country where coronavirus deaths have affected almost all extended families.
Mexico has more than 288,000 test-confirmed deaths, but probable coronavirus deaths as shown on death certificates suggest a toll closer to 440,000, some say the fourth highest in the world.
For a country where people typically die surrounded by loved ones, COVID-19 has been particularly cruel, as loved ones were taken alone in plastic tents, only to die in isolation.
“The only thing I could tell her was, ‘Do whatever the doctors tell you,'” Gina Olvera said of her father, who died from coronavirus. “That’s the last thing I could tell him.” Olvera said she told her father, as she recorded her photo at the memorial, “Well, you didn’t make it, but you’re here with us.”
A woman cried as she pinned a photo of a relative. Another, Dulce Moreno, was calm but sad as she pinned a photo of her uncle and grandfather, Pedro Acosta Nuñez, both of whom died of complications from COVID-19.
“The house seems empty now without him (the grandfather), we feel lost,” Moreno said.
For the most part, it was a cheerful return, above all, to public activities like public altars and the Hollywood-style Day of the Dead parade that Mexico City adopted to mimic a fictional walk in the 2015 James Bond film “Specter.” .
“These days are not sad here; they are a way to remember our dead with great happiness, ”said Otilia Ochoa, a housewife who came with dozens of others to take photos of the flowered offerings near the coronavirus memorial. “The good thing is to regain this freedom, this contact that we had lost” during the pandemic, Ochoa said.
Tens of thousands of Mexico City – almost all wearing masks, despite the city’s relatively high vaccination rate – gathered along the city’s main boulevard on Sunday to watch the parade of dancing skeletons, dancers and floats.
There were few references to the coronavirus in the parade, but there was a whole section of actors dressed in skeletons representing the traders and street vendors of Mexico City.
“We are here to celebrate life! Mexico City Tourism Secretary Paola Felix Diaz said as she kicked off the parade.
Riskier group activities like Halloween-style costume parties and candy bars still haven’t recovered from the pandemic. But the kids took the opportunity to dress up in Mexican Day of the Dead costumes as skull-like Catrinas or red-clad guards from the Netflix series “Squid Game”.
But Mexico has long had a different attitude towards death, more social, more tolerant than in many parts of the world. Revivals and funerals here are often elaborate events that last for several days, bringing together entire neighborhoods and extended families to eat, pray and remember.
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