Oh, great coverage and the video really captures the mood. It's interesting to see how we were in the same place and often took pictures of the same things, yet the pictures manage to be different. I'm looking forward to seeing what Htmb comes up with. In the meantime, here's the Panteon General from my perspective.
The trick is to arrive early enough to get some good pictures in daylight, but also late enough to not overdose on grave dust before the lighting of the niches and the graves. You can see by the photos that we had an overcast dusk for our daylight & that the section of the wall niches where we entered had already been lit ~
I have to admit that I was disappointed that there was no altar competition this year, as I knew my Muertos newbies would appreciate it. Alas, it was the victim of municipal belt-tightening. A very nice compensation, however, was the fact that the old structures in the middle of the cemetery were open for strolling and that the memorial to the forgotten dead had been remembered with a vengeance ~
lagatta , thank you SO much for those links! I see that tomb marker every year and always meant to look it up, but never did.
breeze , the thread does get confusing since there are three different people posting their pictures in it. So, to expand on Kerouac's answer: The first cemetery we visited was the new cemetery in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán. That same evening we proceeded to the old cemetery there. The third cemetery is the small one in the barrio of Xochimilco, just up the hill from my house. (All three of those cemeteries are in what used to be separate communities which have now been semi-absorbed into the city of Oaxaca.) The fourth cemetery is the large main cemetery for the city, the San Miguel cemetery which is always referred to as the Panteón General. Coverage of that fourth cemetery begins at Reply #27 with Kerouac's pictures and is continuing now with more of my pictures.
Let's go in to see the niches being lit ~
Boys on rolling scaffolding come along after the girls in order to reach the lit candles up to the higher niches. Kerouac and I each decided to help the girls by using our greater height to place candles higher up. We both promptly spilled hot wax down our arms.
Oh, you got some beautiful pictures and things I completely missed seeing besides. I love the little face-painted girl gazing up in fascination at the tattooed foreigner. And that last picture above is gorgeous -- so perfectly backlit.
Well, I've lost it now, but in one of htmb's photos I spotted a very elegant woman.
Is each cemetery linked with a particular church, or to the neighborhood, or open to all?
There's a contrast between the monumental statuary of one (some?} cemeteries and the simpler tributes in some others. Ditto with the floral arrangements--marigolds and celosia compared with lilies and calla lilies. There seem to be fewer people observing the day in the all-white cemetery. Or am I all muddled from working backwards?
Yes, I spotted her too. A bit tall by Oaxacan standards, but not of disconcerting pinky pallor like the young man the little girl was staring at upthread. And what an elegant ensemble!
I also loved the very simple sketch of a kindly-looking woman buried in that niche. And crossing threads, I also spotted a Saint Thérèse - she looked more like the more recent French one than Saint Teresa of Ávila, but I could be mistaken, and the earlier saint seems more likely in a Spanish-speaking country.
One of the stands selling sugar water boasted Sodas italianas, though of course I'd never seen most of them when in Italy. No stranger than the Donald's take on "Mexican" food.
Breeze, the first two cemeteries we visited, in Xoxocotlán, are municipal cemeteries. In the older one, the church attached to the graveyard has long since fallen down and the graveyard filled to capacity, thus the newer one at the edge of town. The third cemetery is attached to a functioning church, but since Mexico has strict separation of church and state*, anyone can be buried there. The fourth cemetery is the large municipal cemetery for the city of Oaxaca.
I'm assuming you are calling the fourth cemetery, the Panteón General, the "all-white" one because of all the marble stones and monuments -- is that correct? Now that you mention it, that one does seem to have many more expensive flowers and flower arrangements. That's not surprising, as in the outlying towns the celebrations are more traditional, i.e., more marigolds and celosia, plus the big city cemetery would have a larger proportion of wealthier mourners.
As far as number of people observing the day, that's a function of which cemeteries do what on which days. We went to the two in Xoxocotlán on the 31st, which is the big day to celebrate there. It is the day when deceased children make their yearly visit to earth. Some say that happens at three in the afternoon on the 31st, others say at midnight. Whatever -- that is why November the first is considered the day of the innocents. The adult dead arrive later, and are celebrated on November the second**.
LaGatta, now that you mention it, I realize that The Little Flower is often represented in statuary here, whereas I don't know if she of Ávila is or not. Of course that could be because I don't know how the older saint is depicted.
I believe the Italian sodas must be a side-effect of the growing popularity of coffee houses here. You have to wonder how many snowball syrups have been pressed into service as Italian soda flavorings.
I think my stalwart fellow cemetery visitors have posted all their pictures of the graveyards and attendant fun fairs. Let me catch up by posting my photos of the fair outside the Panteón General and that might wrap this thread up, picture-wise, anyway ~
Eyes on the prize: "I don't want the bloody looking fries, Daddy, I want the stuffed doggy!"
For those wondering, the Spanish for hot cakes is "hot cakes" ~
This appears to be a waffle under that Matterhorn of fake whipped cream ~
This is where I wanted to eat, but I was overruled by the avid picture-takers
Oh, I wasn't at all against that place, and you can see how I lovingly captured him sizzling his tortillas on the griddle in my video. But there was so much to see that it was impossible to stop so quickly!
I wondered about that, too. But I think that in places where the culture decides that the person's life is to be celebrated rather than their death mourned, it must absolutely help to dry the tears even when the tears are there inevitably. Even if you are crying about it, you have to approve of the fact that other people are celebrating the life of the loved one.