Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Bunch of "Ofrendas" and the Grand-Daddy of Them All

On November 1st, the day before the Day of the Dead, I went back to the "Centro Histórico", and, as I had expected, I found plenty of "ofrendas" on display.

In the main post office building...

In the atrium next to the Church of San Francisco...

In the "Sagrario", the parish church attached to the Cathedral...

The Cathedral usually has a large "ofrenda", but this year there was only a small one in the side chapel of St. Peter.

An "ofrenda" inside one of the colonial mansions was dedicated to the pets who have given us so much happiness.

On the Plaza de Santo Domingo there were more than forty "ofrendas" on display.  I was not aware of the fact that each year the National University of Mexico sponsors an "ofrenda" competition there.


Each year the competition has a theme.  This year all the "ofrendas" are in remembrance of Emiliano Zapata, the hero of the Mexican Revolution who was assassinated 100 years ago.

"Tierra y Libertad"... Land and Liberty
The rallying cry of Zapata

However, nothing can compare to the "Ofrenda Monumental", the enormous display that is erected each year on the Zócalo.  I thought that this year's display was especially impressive.

In the pre-Hispanic religions, the four cardinal directions were sacred.  For this year's "ofrenda" there are four altars facing north, south, east and west.  Each altar reflects the cultural traditions from a different part of the nation.

The western altar is inspired by the traditions of the village of Cuanajo in the western state of Michoacán.  There families put flowers and fruit on wooden horses and carry them to their houses to lead the souls of their loved ones to their homes.

The north altar draws from the culture of the Yaqui tribe in the northern state of Sonora. They place their table upon four trunks of mesquite wood.

In the east members of the Huasteco tribe build archways covered with flowers, fruit and bread as a portal between the worlds of the living and the dead.

In the southern state of Yucatán families share a feast with the dead, a feast which includes "mucbipollo", large tamales wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a pit.

Wreaths honor each of the states of the Mexican Republic.

Flowered crosses with messages similar to what you might see at a cemetery at this time of year...

"I miss you grandma."

"I will never forget you"

A truly impressive display on Mexico City's Zócalo

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