Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dia de los Muertos- Mixquic

Monday I went to Mixquic (San Andres Mixquic), which I had been told by various friends, my guidebook and web sites was one of the most traditional and overall best places to experience Dia de los Muertos. Thousands of people go there every year for Dia de los Muertos. 

Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to expectations. We met up at noon and took a bus to a bus station. Mixquic is in the southeast of the DF -- so we figured it would be about an hour bus ride from there. However, because there was so much traffic it took a little over 2/12 hours on a very crowded and hot public bus (positive side -- we only paid 2 pesos!). 

After getting off the bus we saw the canals of Mixquic. 

canals and offering in Mixquic

And a very large Catrina
La Catrina

We then strolled through the market, which was selling, among other things, lots of Dia de los Muertos - related products and food


sugar skulls and other treats 

market in Miquic

We stopped for a quick game

Pinole-- not directly related to Dia de los Muertos, but tasty.
It's toasted maiz or amaranto (amaranth?) and is eaten plain or mixed with milk
or water for a drink

I found pumpkin seeds! So excited! 

Then we stopped for lunch/dinner
Piratas (like a quesadilla but with steak and cheese) and horchata

From there we went to the church (church and ex-monastery of San Andres Apostol), where there was a mass in session

The church was originally built over the teocalli, or prescinct of Mixquic. In the courtyard there were various prehispanic artifacts 

The statue is of Miquiztli/Mixquixtli, the goddess of life and death

Lilian, me, and Tatiana

At 7pm on Nov 1 the church bells chime, which signals the Hour of Campanera. According to Wikipedia, groups of youth wander from house to house carrying bells and singing "a las animas benditas les prendemos sus ceritas. Companero, mi tamal" (to the blessed souls we light our candles. Companero, my tamale) . After singing they receive tamales, candy or fruit. Well.... I saw one or two kids with bells, but a lot more with orange plastic pumpkins asking for candy or money. And lots of Halloween costumes. 

There was a display and altar inside a room of the church

Amigos de Mixquic

prehispanic ball game 

canal and chinampas

UNAM Pumas

We then visited (along with many others) the graveyard, where many of the graves were decorated with flowers and candles

There was a display and altar in the museum as well
"Los enamorados" 

We also saw various paper lanterns that looked a lot like colorful Star of Davids, which are believed to guide the spirits-- unfortunately no photos of it.

We had debated staying the night, but by 8:00 we felt we had seen everything there was to see so we made the trek back home (Perhaps we would have seen more if we had gone Nov 2 -- the day for adults -- as opposed to Nov 1 -- the day for infants and children). Still lots of traffic and a main road was closed, so took about 3 hours. When we got back the bus we needed was no longer running, so we took the looooong way on the metro (north to go south with 2 transfers) to get home. So Mixquic was interesting -- but I saw a lot of more of public transportation than anything else on Monday! 

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