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In the City of Death

By Jesús Aguado

Death took over the public spaces in the city during its day. From early morning on November 1, makeup artists were installed in the streets, painting people’s faces to make them look like skulls. Some decided to dress as Catrinas (well-attired female skeletons). Later all attended the parades, one made up of Mexicans and the other, mainly of people from the US, all enjoying the Mexican tradition of celebrating Day of the Dead.

At the Jardín Principal, a monumental offering was placed to honor the captains of pre-Columbian groups of dancers who passed away in the last century. Part of the esplanade of the Jardín was turned into a cemetery to remember that the space once was used as a holy pantheon. The graves were also for the souls of local traditionalists.

A cave of cardboard was constructed at the Jardín, decorated with hundreds of candles. There, some actors reenacted part of the text from Mexican writer Juan Rulfo, Macario, mainly the part where he has a conversation with Death.

At the cemeteries, the air was invaded by the smell from the marigold flowers, the sound of all kinds of live music, the happiness of children decorating the graves of those who had departed. There were some tears, some laughter, and some praise.

After November 2, like death, the makeup faded away, and the hats were hung up until next year.


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