Regular readers of this blog know that Day of the Dead in Mazatlán for us closely rivals our port’s ultimate party, Carnavál. And that is saying A LOT! So much so that, this year, I willingly woke up at TWO A.M. (!) in Seattle in order to get the earliest flight back to Mazatlán in order to attend our traditional callejoneada—CULTURA moved the event up one day to avoid the overtime hassles of having people work on Sunday. I got home just in time to welcome two of my girlfriends, Jessica and Lilzy, for a makeup party prior to the evening’s events.
Walking with the two gorgeous main catrinas to escort the dearly departed from their altars around El Centro to the ever-after was wonderful as usual! This year the donkey-drawn beer carts were replaced with motor-driven versions (two donkeys did head up the parade), at least four bandas took part, and there were hundreds of people who made the effort to paint their faces and dress the part of calacas and catrinas.
Below is footage from 2012’s alley parade, or click here to view a photo album of this year’s callejoneada.
Very exciting to me this year was that for the first time ever—I’ve stood in line for hours in previous years, to no avail—we were able to get tickets to the events in the Angela Peralta Theater. I have heard how awesome that event is, but we were never lucky enough to make it to the front of the ticket line. And, yes, many of you ask us why CULTURA doesn’t give us tickets, since we promote them so much. But, they don’t.
Even though I was out of town working, my wonderful husband Greg stood in line and scored us a pair of tickets! Then my good friend Jessica gifted us with two more, so a couple of friends could join us. After standing in line for the tickets, gentlemanly Greg didn’t even go in, but let the women have the opportunity!
The theme this year was Mictlán, honoring pre-hispanic Mexico. Entering the theater the very first act was a tribute to the Aztecs. Going on to the stage we saw two large dance performances: one looking out to the theater (in the seats) and another looking in towards the back of the stage (a wedding). All were gorgeous.
Walking through the hallways and stairways inside the theater was a bit like a spook house, but emerging out onto the upper deck some calacas were playing classical music and singing opera, and below was an aerial dancer wowing the crowd. Throughout the theater were located multiple altars honoring the dearly departed, and multiple dance and visual art installations.
Click on any photo below to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
Both Carnavál and Day of the Dead show just how strong our local arts community is. Young people practice for weeks to prepare for these big events, and hundreds of people dress up, make up, and bring their families and friends to participate in the events. We are so blessed here with every type of musician, singer and dancer, from classical to banda, as well as to artists of every form of visual and performing art. Many thanks to Cecilia Sanchez Duarte, who devotes the major part of three months to making events in the theater come to life, and to all the makeup artists, costume and set designers who contribute their skills as well! Such a terrific event, and the tickets are free! If, of course, you can get them!
The last two days have been family time, with altars at home to reflect on those we’ve loved and lost, visits to the cemetery, and raising a glass and a song to celebrate their lives. Day of the Dead is, indeed, yet one more of Mexico’s great contributions to our planet. I trust you’ve enjoyed the long weekend and used the opportunity of the holiday to connect with family and friends!