I dug it
This past Friday, when all of the kids in the States were enjoying their school Halloween parties, we were getting down with the Day of the Dead here in Mexico.
El dia de los Muertos (or All Souls’ Day) traditionally consists of building private alters for the deceased in your family - most typically using sugar skulls and marigolds to accent the favorite food and drink of those who have passed on. This is a way to pay respect for those no longer with us. Here, the kids of each classroom at the Ixaya School (http://www.tashirat.com/orphanage-school/ixaya-school/) built group alters for their annual Day of the Dead contest. Each multi-tiered sculpture popped with color, glowed with light and tickled the taste buds. Let the party begin…
The whole afternoon was dedicated to the dead. Costume and alter contests brought out the spirits, but it was the living that could be heard throughout - laughing and carrying on like kids do. It was refreshing to take part in this morbid holiday, respecting both the dead and the local culture.
Later on that night, I put my chaperoning shoes on and tried to remember what it was like to dance the night away at age twelve. The Ixaya School hosted a Day of the Dead dance that brought out kids ages 10-17. The DJ kept the beat bumping as the older crews broke into break (dancing) segments, while the younger ghouls chased each other around the dance floor. Around 10:30pm, two stilt dancers took to the floor and by 11:30pm, the remaining ‘adults’ joined in with feel-free foot-work to shut the place down. The day and holiday experience was complete… and I was dead tired.