Like I told you already, I went downtown on Friday to see the annual Day of the Dead celebration in the Zocalo. The day(s) of the dead are celebrated on October 31 until November 2. Here’s a translation of what the program they were handing out said:

The sacred ancient Mexican space of Mictlan refers to the mythical place where all individuals, when they die from natural causes, had to pass through dangerous places that, for four years, tested their intelligence and values that they learned in their lifetime.

For those from Mesoamerica, arriving at Mictlan was a mandatory path, a place of purification, in order to transition to other states of being. And one of the main doors to enter Mictlan was found close to Templo Mayor, with the present day Zocalo as its heart.

My thoughts on the celebration are many. A few things that I noted were the many people talking about how much the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday, and that it should be celebrated, and Halloween should not be celebrated, which echoes what I read about the Catholic church of Mexico’s comments earlier in the week. There were also many politically charged “ofrendas,” or traditional altars.

There is always some sort of protest going on downtown, and Friday was no exception, as we watched hundreds of people protesting naked in one corner of the main plaza.

As for the celebration, it has almost gotten to a point of art. The “ofrendas” were elaborate, and the displays, artistically speaking, were incredible. I could tell that hours of work had gone into creating them. The celebration was attended by thousands of people. It was the largest cultural event I had been to since coming to Mexico.

I have more thoughts on the Day of the Dead, but I feel it warrants another post, so I’ll finish this post with some pictures from the festival downtown.

Click a thumbnail to see larger version

If you want to see the whole set on Flickr, click here.

I posted a video from the event here.