Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dias de los Muertes

Buen Dia. Yesterday began the celebration for the Day of the Dead. Dias de los Muertes is what it is called and it is a three day, two night celebration.

Yesterday was All Saints Day, and people stayed throughout the night at the cemetery to remember the children.
Today is All Souls Day, where everyone is remembered.

Last night was very noisy, lots of music could be heard all over town and there was a great deal of celebrating. There was still music across the street in the old tequila ranch at three am. Then around four am, three men were out in our street, strumming guitars and singing very off-key.
My Mexican friends at the track this morning said...............the big party is tonight.

The new mayor cancelled the Calaca Festival, which celebrated the Katrina, the female skeleton that is so well known. I was told that he felt it was just too much of a party and very touristy.
Also, prize money was given for the best altars and he felt that should stop.

The museum curator told me this.............Mexico................he said............ we are all about party, but Day of the Dead, it is about respectful party.

On Friday, three of us put up the history Club altar for Ida Franklin. Below, is the finished work and I took a photo of one of the workers. Marigold petals are sprinkled all over the table top.The lady who asked me to help with the altar creates beautiful miniature scenes and she envisioned that this might be something Ida would have liked. It is so delicate and pretty, right down to the crystal chandelier and the photographs on the wall. These are copies of the covers of books she wrote while living here in Alamos.Here is the altar created by the indigenous indian tribe, the Guarajitos.and an altar the museum created to honor a Mexican poet.The Palacio was filled also with altars that were created by the school children. Each was dedicated to a different person.

After the altar was finished, I went home and read a recent post on the website. It was about the 'adopt a grave' program. There are over sixty identified graves of foreigners in the Pantheon. The History Club wanted to find people to take care of the graves, not just for Dias de los Muertes, but all of the time: weeding, sweeping, painting, any general clean up needed throughout the year.

I noticed that Ida Franklin's grave did not have a caretaker, nor did her son's, so of course, I adopted them immediately.

Fortunately, Senor did not mind that he was not consulted, so we took off for the Pantheon with gloves and a broom.

We discovered the graves were on top of each other, the son on the bottom, as he died first around the age of fifty-one. Ida was on top. We thought that would make for easy maintenance until we saw that Walter's inscription was barely legible. So, we just swept and tidied up.

When we left, we walked in a different direction, reading names on graves and watching other people as they worked.

We discovered two foreign graves that are not on the list, Thomas Morgan Wood and his wife, Helene Adams Wood. Well, their inscriptions could barely be read. When we got home, I called the 'adopt a grave' contact and claimed those two as well.

On Sunday, I loaded up the basket of new old bike and went to the Pantheon. A friend suggested I do a rub to find out what all the inscriptions said, so I did that. Then I painted in all of the letters with black oil paint.

I have had so many remarkable experiences in the last year and a half. This is truly one of them. After I painted the inscriptions on all four graves, I added wreaths and ribbons and candles.
While I worked, I saw other foreigners out walking, looking for their 'adopt a graves'. One friend I saw has a very old grave, an Englishman who died in the mines in 1902. I loaned her my paper and pencil so she could also do a rub.

I wondered alot about the Wood couple. Do they have any family? Thery were a mother and father. Where is their family? Why were they in Alamos? At the top of his grave there is a brass plaque. It says T. Morgan Wood and there is a music cleft and three music notes on it. Does anyone know who these people are? They are no longer alone, their names have now been added to the History Club list.
We now have four adopted graves. Dias de los Muertes mass is at four this afternoon. We will be there. We will buy marigolds and maybe other little trinkets to lay on the graves and we will light the candles.
And we will join in the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Alamos.

adios...linda lou


Billie said...

Adopting a grave is a great idea. We need to do something like that in San Miguel de Allende

Chrissy y Keith said...

What a good soul you are! Congratulations on your adoption.

marti and bernie said...

Thank you, Linda for this beautiful post, and the photos.
My family name is Wood, and my daughter's name is Morgan! such a coincidence.

Gin said...

Linda, the palacio issues a death certificate when one dies, (I know this for a fact as we were involved with a death of an Americano and know what information they collected.) Maybe you could see if they would give you the particulars of where the Woods were born and someone could do a little sleuthing on the net. Good posting about the Alamos celebration.

Ian Huntington said...

Linda, I already know you are a wonderful, giving person with a good soul. Fascinating post! Wish I were there as I'd adopt a tomb too. If fortune smiles, I'll be buried in that pantheon tambien.