The inauguration of the festivities of the dead was this afternoon and a grand inauguration it was. But before that happened, the dogs and I went for a walk to catch some of the spirit without all the madness.
Let's start big, with the giant alebrije outside the organic market on Alcalá ~
We'll just wait over here, where it's not so scary ~
Continuing south on Alcalá, we pass through a pavilion of folkcraft from all over the country ~
From one of the rug weaving villages near Oaxaca -- I've never seen Death used as a rug theme before ~
Bixa, a lot of these seem to be made of papier mache. Is that true of the giant alebrije in #1? It's quite the wonder.
Your dogs seem cautious with fake dogs their size but don't quail at the skeletons? Did they get a whiff of glue when they checked out the calf's butt the other day? Which would of course then go in their encyclopedia of smells and confuse them when they encountered a real calf.
Ahhh ~ you all are so kind and encouraging. Thanks!
Lugg, you will see more, much more than you can imagine. The plan this year is to get out of the city into surrounding communities.
Breeze, yes -- lots of papier mache, including that huge alebrije. I don't think the dogs smelled glue on the calf, since he is made of sheet metal. It finally occurred to me that the butt sniffing might have been because dogs who previously passed had lifted their legs on the poor calf. But strangely, none of mine did that. Maybe he is an enchanted calf, a la the Tin Woodman.
Kerouac, the next thing I'm showing is some place you'll recognize, but I'm including some orientation pics for others.
A friend and I scurried to get to the Cruz de Piedra before the grand inauguration parade began.
Some of you will have seen this area on the big screen, as the part by the aqueduct arches features in the movie Nacho Libre. That cross in the movie has since been replaced by a modern sculpture which you'll see in the next two pictures.
These two are NOT my photographs. Each will have its source included beneath the picture. Note that buildings have since been painted other colors.
Looking west to the aqueduct, in the direction of Bixa's house. To the left and outside the picture is García Vigil street, the beginning of the parade route ~
And now we'll see how that area looked yesterday afternoon when it was converged upon by well over a dozen different groups from municipalities, barrios, and artistic collectives, plus hundreds of onlookers.
This "Magna Comparsa" is the first time all of them have been seen together, and is the official inauguration of las Festividades de Muertos 2017.
I know what you mean about the fear of it being the same, Kerouac, particularly since a) this is my 20th Muertos and b) in terms of photo-ops. But the great thing is that there is so much going on that it's possible to find something new every year.
Thank you, Mick! This report is a very long way from being finished, though. What I'm showing so far is the inauguration parade -- a parade that thus far in the report has not started. That was on the 28th. Yesterday I went out and took a few pictures and I'll probably come across something today. Then it's the big guns of the 31st and 1st.
Tod, thanks for looking so closely! The great thing about photographs is that they pick up stuff that the actual eye and brain miss when looking at the scene live.
Please bear with me, folks. Even as I type I'm uploading pictures to Flickr and also one of my bad videos to youtube.
Post by cheerypeabrain on Oct 30, 2017 17:35:58 GMT
OOooOoH faaaaaaabulous... I really must make an alebrije because it looks such fun! The dogs look great and very relaxed..and I love the Mexican Morris men equivalents (have you come across Morris men in your travels?)
Too true, Kerouac ~ this is never not worth seeing! On my very first two Muertos I got to see the demons of San Agustín up close on their home turf. Now it's my twentieth Muertos and seeing them was still a thrill.
Well, I am trying to keep this report more or less in sync with real time, so will now show pictures from yesterday and today. Nothing much really cranks up until tomorrow, so you're getting low-key photos to rest your eyes from all that color and rowdiness.
Yesterday afternoon, October 29, was the inauguration of the sand paintings at the Plaza de la Danza. When I got there, I was shocked that there were no giant ones as in years past, just the smaller "sheetcake" variety, in pretty much the same designs I saw year after year in Xoxocotlán.
This is the scene, with the youth orchestra playing ~
The candles on the stairs are in memory of those who lost their lives in the recent earthquakes ~
From the Plaza de la Danza you can look straight down into the front door of La Soledad church. Here are some non Day of the Dead flowers ~
Your latest photos have not yet appeared but I thought the stilt-walker in the turquoise blue cape was the best of the lot. He must have put hours and hours of work into the costume, shield and attack weapon. The group dressed in thousands of "Christmas bells" must be something to be heard. I'm sure they are the same bells I get via China and at the moment are selling dozens for the holiday season. I love the photo of the young boy looking up at your camera - I think he is urgently trying to attract the attention of his dad? next to him by gripping his arm and I think is tapping him on the back.
Aah! photos appearing now - Great shot of the old man head rested on hand and looking every bit bored to tears
Those marigolds must be cultivated by the million at a precise time to get so many ready for this occasion. How bright and colourful the ice cream stands are! Lots of effort by the owners. I saw my favourite 'pistache'... Aah, but Mezcal has caught my eye. Haven't had a tequila flavoured one ever.
Kerouac, the high temp on the 28th was 75F/24C, so probably the paint was enough to keep those guys warm. Oddly, the flavor of mango disappears easily when made into anything else, so the chile would be a good addition. It's extremely common here to sprinkle a chile-lime-salt mixture of varying degrees of hotness onto fresh fruit -- an addictive addition!
Tod, thanks so much for your kind comments. I agree -- that costume is magnificent. I don't know where those stilt walkers are from. In terms of movement and dancing, they don't have nearly the panache of the fabulous young men from Zaachila.
And yes, the bell devils are just mind blowing. I used to live up in the hills around San Agustín, and after rolling home late from the wild DofD street party, I could hear them still at it until dawn. None of the people in my pictures are wearing the traditional capes, which are covered with mirrors and add to the huge weight of the costume. This youtube video (not mine) gives an idea of sound of those devils. The young man at :50 is saying, "I've been masking as a devil from the time I was little and always dreamed of being a traditional devil with the heavy costume of 40 kilos. Every year I refine my devil look." The older man says, "I began as a devil when I was eight. There were 20 or 25 of us in the masking group. Now there are 150, 200. The custom has been preserved here over many years."
The little guy is showing me the Virgin of Guadalupe on the back of the devil's cape. He saw me trying to get a picture when I was pushed aside by an oaf with a giant camera. (My picture-taking pal and I noted that men with monster cameras seem overly entitled. That particular jerk had a lens like a leaf blower and something sticking off the top that resembled the bag of a hand-vac.) Anyway, I let Bluto snap off some pics then said, "Hey -- it's my turn." He moved and the sweet little boy's help wound up making for a much better shot.
I'm hoping to get some marigold field shots today, as I'm venturing into the countryside. You're right that they are cultivated all over the country in preparation for this festival. When you come visit, I will buy you all the mezcal ice cream you can eat!
Thanks so much, Mossie! You know I dream of living in England, but it's the English themselves who are so discouraging about the winter darkness.
Amazing how the festivities manage to renew themselves every year when you'd think it would just be the same stuff over and over again.
My sentiments exactly. Just as I thought I had seen it all and having been there in 1995 and poured over subsequent reports here comes/is a all together different, brilliant, mind boggling report on the same theme and different variation.
How I/we would love to be there and I have promised T. that we will go soon soon but, not soon enough.
Looking forward to seeing more.
(You know, I have a whole set of predominately B&W 35mm photos that I took when I was there. They are somewhere in this house... Many were taken in the city but there is a slew of ones I took when we went out in the country and a whole different departure of sorts from the "standard" , (I don't want to say stereotypical, variations of the various ceremonial festivities.) I do recall someone handing me a plastic water bottle that I assumed contained water and went to take a huge slug of and it was pure homemade Mezcal... )
Well, first off, I'm not even sure where they are. A very sore subject that has to do with taking in a friend and his son to live here, gave him 2 rooms to live in and full use of the common areas, kitchen etc. He, without my permission, totally rearranged, moved, discarded, all manner of "things' we have yet to find. I trust he didn't toss these but, I have no clue as to where they are along with many, many other things.) And, no, I do not have a scanner and don't know the first thing about it. Let's just say, it's "on the list")
Wonderful as ever Bixa - not only is the topic so entertaining but the quality of your photos - wow. The videos really helped me to understand how many people are viewing, I have to say the spinning Catherine wheel contraption fills me with horror from a health and safety point of view . I am not sure that I would want to be close to that . Yes K2 I do so want to go and see it for myself ...one day . I think my fave photo is the one with Amate Catrina standing in the foreground with the elegant lady behind - that model looks so lifelike (as in someone in costume)and love the pics of your dogs meeting hers looking forward to seeing your marigold field photos.
.. the spinning Catherine wheel contraption fills me with horror from a health and safety point of view ... I do so want to go and see it for myself ...one day .
Ahh, Lugg ~ your "wow" over my photos means the world to me -- thank you! I had to laugh over your health and safety comment. After you're here a while, you become quite blasé about the lack of regard for those little concerns. The attitude seems to be: "you knew going in that life is dangerous, so enter at your own risk". As for seeing it for yourself "one day" ~ every year when I do the DofD report, everyone says how much they'd like to see it. Someone needs to take the bull by the horns & just decide to come and/OR organize everyone into planning a big get-together here.