I am working up a post which I hope will give you some substantial information on The Day of the Dead. MEANWHILE, Day of the Dead stuff has already started, not only in our Colonia, but in the wider community.
Yesterday in my painting class (in a tienda on a corner of Campillo in Coatepec) an old woman came in selling the gorgeous big golden marigolds that are universal for the Day of the Dead and big purple flowers which in the US I think are called coxcomb but here are called Pata del león -- lion's paw. She carried them in a shawl. I bought some of the latter, our maestra bought a lot of both. There is a standard price, I think: ten pesos, or maybe $.70 a (big) bunch for either kind of flower.
Yesterday evening in my Spanish class in el Museo, La Casa de María Enriqueta in Coatepec, we talked a bit about faith and identity because obviously the Day of the Dead has religious roots. Our maestra who is an absolutely delightful and very intelligent and articulate woman from Coatepec said that nowadays, people picked and chose what they wanted to observe in Catholicism, but that Dia de Muertos is very important for evryone: a kind of cafeteria-style Catholicism, perhaps, but nonetheless an integral part of Mexican culture.
In our Colonia, which is neither very rich nor very sophisticated, for many it is a kind of loose Catholicism that prevails as well. And yet Día de Muertos captivates everyone, and our neighbors are very anxious that we, too, have an altar. Eduardo, the son of an amiga, brought us a basket for an altar in which we could put dulces. So Jim put a picture of his parents in our nicho, and Tere put the patas del león in a vase and found another picture of Jim's mother. Today, I brought the golden marigolds home, and Tere decided she had enough to go whole-hog. I will post a pictue when she is done.
More to come...