Mexico Connect
Forums  > General > General Forum


dp

Sep 9, 2002, 6:48 PM

Post #1 of 9 (1425 views)

Shortcut

El Día de los Muertos

Can't Post |
My friend and I will be in Puerto Vallarta over the All Saints Day and Day of the Dead and are interested in these celebrations. Though we are familiar with the basics of the of days' celebrations, I would like to find out, as tourists, if it is appropriate and acceptable for us to visit the cemeteries to view the decorated graves, or if the people consider it intrusive of their family celebration. I very much would like to visit the cemeteries and also view some private home shrines if the situation presents itself. I want to be sensitive and careful of the feelings of the families, so just need to know how "private" this is considered among the local people.



Uncle Donnie

Sep 9, 2002, 8:04 PM

Post #2 of 9 (1424 views)

Shortcut

El Día de los Muertos

Can't Post |
I've been fortunate enough to be present at celebrations in several towns and villages and I've never had a problem.<p>In PV they used to set up a number of fairly large and elaborate alters around the government bldg. adjacent to the Malecon. The bldg. that houses the tourist info office.<p>In addition you'll see that some families set up alters on the sidewalks outside their homes. In these situations you should ask permission before you take pictures. As a matter of fact I think it's always the correct thing to do. In some cases people might ask for a few pesos. Just pay it, they need it worse than you do.<p>Sorry, I got carried away. <p><p><p><p>
: My friend and I will be in Puerto Vallarta over the All Saints Day and Day of the Dead and are interested in these celebrations. Though we are familiar with the basics of the of days' celebrations, I would like to find out, as tourists, if it is appropriate and acceptable for us to visit the cemeteries to view the decorated graves, or if the people consider it intrusive of their family celebration. I very much would like to visit the cemeteries and also view some private home shrines if the situation presents itself. I want to be sensitive and careful of the feelings of the families, so just need to know how "private" this is considered among the local people.<p>


dp

Sep 9, 2002, 8:39 PM

Post #3 of 9 (1422 views)

Shortcut

El Día de los Muertos

Can't Post |
Thank you. I always ask permission of people to take a picture of them, especially in a private or home and family situation. And I have also offered to pay them. I look forward to seeing this celebration for the first time.<p>


Uncle Donnie

Sep 9, 2002, 9:31 PM

Post #4 of 9 (1422 views)

Shortcut

You'll do fine down here. You're welcome. nfmsg

Can't Post |
: Thank you. I always ask permission of people to take a picture of them, especially in a private or home and family situation. And I have also offered to pay them. I look forward to seeing this celebration for the first time.<p>


Marlene in Mazatlan

Sep 9, 2002, 9:48 PM

Post #5 of 9 (1423 views)

Shortcut

My first &quot;Day of the Dead&quot;....

Can't Post |
It was a little spooky because all these people were running around the Plaza dressed alike, in black, looking scary. I was to later find out that they were honoring a well known local artist on this special day. This is how he dressed.
Also I was able to witness a very private family alter. This was really special and very sad for me. It had letters written to his child, his gold watch, his favourite cookies baked fresh for him, etc. This is what it is all about, but for me it was overwhelming at the time. This is a wonderful culture - not a day to be sad - a day to remember.
M


Lucy

Sep 10, 2002, 5:40 AM

Post #6 of 9 (1422 views)

Shortcut

El Día de los Muertos in PV

Can't Post |
Many families will set up a memorial display at the city hall. No need to travel far. I found it really interesting. The Mexican view of death is so different to those in the U.S. <p>
: My friend and I will be in Puerto Vallarta over the All Saints Day and Day of the Dead and are interested in these celebrations. Though we are familiar with the basics of the of days' celebrations, I would like to find out, as tourists, if it is appropriate and acceptable for us to visit the cemeteries to view the decorated graves, or if the people consider it intrusive of their family celebration. I very much would like to visit the cemeteries and also view some private home shrines if the situation presents itself. I want to be sensitive and careful of the feelings of the families, so just need to know how "private" this is considered among the local people.<p>


keith

Sep 10, 2002, 9:24 AM

Post #7 of 9 (1427 views)

Shortcut

My first &quot;Day of the Dead&quot;....

Can't Post |
It's a translation from a Spanish textbook my wife wrote:<p>Day of the Dead<p> The 2nd of November all of Mexico celebrates its dead. The tradition is much older than the conquest, but during the time of the indoctrination (when the missionaries were converting the indigenous people) the missionaries channeled this and other pre-Columbian traditions towards the dates and rites of the Catholic calendar. This eased the transition from the worship of the sacred entities of the ancient cultures to the Catholic monotheism. <p> For indigenous Mexico at the beginning of this era life was only a passage through a dimension or world where the material world and the human drama formed a central part. In this sphere of life man had to learn to perceive his spiritual essence which transcended his physical body and mind, which was much more valuable than any thing from the material world. He had to see that this life was only a phase that ended, and upon ending, the spiritual essence recovered its greater consciousness. If upon dying a man hadn’t learned the lesson, he had to return to pass through the experiences of the physical plane again and again until reaching greater understanding inside the material world (almost the same as the concept of reincarnation of some eastern religions).<p> In that ancient vision of things the dead needed to get help from the living to effect their transition, to recover their spiritual integrity, to completely heal the emotional wounds they had suffered in life. The dead, in turn, once healed, could protect those who still lived in the material world and help them develop their consciousness.<p> Many of the customs that the majority of the pre-Columbian groups practiced had their origin in those ancient teachings. Nevertheless that original teaching about death was later changed by the cultures existing in the times when the Europeans arrived on this continent.<p> For example, the interpretation that was given to the custom of honoring the dead changed. The object was, as it was later understood, to help the dead better understand (see) where they had inhabited and where they would never return. The Aztecs thought that some of the dead could reincarnate in the forms of animals, and that the way one died decided where the dead person’s soul went to live.<p> Then Catholicism arrived to radically change all that had been believed before; and the celebration dedicated to the dead began to change again. Today the festival of the day of the dead has elements of the old indigenous traditions and those of Catholicism.<p> In the southern regions (of Mexico) the celebration of the day of the dead is one of the most elaborate of the year. Each house (family) prepares itself to receive the visit of its dead (family members) on the 2nd of November, (by) building an altar and arranging there the things that they (the dead) liked—food, flowers, drinks, sweets. They also lay out a path with flowers that goes from the street (or from the cemetery if it is close) to the family altar so that the dead can find their home on the earth. Nowadays many Indians and Mestizos imagine the dead living in a kind of limbo, isolated, in the dark, alone, and the living pray for them so they can arrive in (go to) the traditional Christian heaven, from which they don’t return. The cemeteries fill with flowers, people, music, prayers, celebration.<p> In the north, principally in the rural areas, the dimension where the dead reside is not a theme for conversation (isn’t talked about). The people only think that they exist in a different place. On the day of the dead they (the living) visit the cemetery; they bring crowns and flowers made of paper for their dead (there are few natural flowers in November); they clean the tombs; they pray for them (the dead). Those who know how to make music get drunk in their honor, and then they play music that they (the dead) liked. It is another festive day; there are people selling food and snacks, children playing, people talking. The completed picture has the color of a party, the sound of a celebration, the smell of tradition.<p> The vision (understanding) of death is final for the Catholics; they don’t believe that the dead will return to life (live again). They don’t know where they (the dead) are, but they hope they are near to God, the Virgin, Christ; they pray for them; they honor them the 2nd of November; they cry over them if the death was recent. Then they have to return to their normal life.<p>


Maat

Sep 10, 2002, 4:16 PM

Post #8 of 9 (1423 views)

Shortcut

El Día de los Muertos

Can't Post |
You sound like you are already sensitized to proper behaviour regarding photographs. I think you will find the visit informative and rather soul-inspiring. When I was in Chiapas, in San Cristobal de Las Casas a few years ago I was invited to the cemetery by some new friends and was deeply moved by the, well, kind of happy sadness that was pervasive. The small bands were quite energetic and enjoyable and people appeared more celebratory than somber. <p>The architecture of the cemetery itself was amazing with memorials ranging from small stones to some Very grand "houses". Painted in bright colors with sculptured designs it was almost more like a small village rather than a cemetery.<p>People were weeding the plots, planting flowers, bringing cut flowers in vases, it was overall rather quite beautiful. And serene.<p>By being respectful and discrete your visit should be fine. I hope you enjoy the experience.<p><p>: My friend and I will be in Puerto Vallarta over the All Saints Day and Day of the Dead and are interested in these celebrations. Though we are familiar with the basics of the of days' celebrations, I would like to find out, as tourists, if it is appropriate and acceptable for us to visit the cemeteries to view the decorated graves, or if the people consider it intrusive of their family celebration. I very much would like to visit the cemeteries and also view some private home shrines if the situation presents itself. I want to be sensitive and careful of the feelings of the families, so just need to know how "private" this is considered among the local people.<p>


Janis

Sep 11, 2002, 6:26 AM

Post #9 of 9 (1422 views)

Shortcut

just a thought...

Can't Post |
Dear Dp,<p>I've been to Mexico three times for DOD and am returning this year also. The most moving thing I witnessed in Oaxaca was a family from the states who had lost their teenage son in the prior year. Those recently passed are often the focus of the family's remembrances. Anyway, this Californian family brought a picture of their son, purchased his favorite foods from the market as well as candles and flowers and went to the large cemetery near XoXo (I don't remember the name). They went into the back and found an overgrown grave, cleaned it up and created an alter to their son and the person who's grave had been neglicated. I found it a memorable way for them to honor their son and someone whose family was not able to honor them.
Janis
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4