The Day of the Deadas it is known in Mexico goes back for centuries and was not celebrated in Northern Mexico until the 20th century, nor the United States. Recently, however, while watching a Phoenix TV channel we noticed two different celebrations happening in the Phoenix area which is relatively new. If you planning to be in Puerto Peñasco the week of October 31st, plan to visit the Cholla Bay Mall or Rodeo Drive as it sometimes called. We have a lot of locals who have spent hours putting this celebration together. Store owners there will put up “Altars” in memory of a loved one who has passed away. Death here is celebrated and is not to be feared.
The altars will consist of 2 different types of flowers as well as things that the deceased person liked like food and alcohol or anything that held special meaning for them. Many of the shops display the Day of the Dead figurines. These figurines are made of porcelain and are like skeletons dressed in brightly colored paints. The all have long boney fingers as you can see from the pictures. These figurines are referred to as Catrinas. The most coveted ones seem to the bride and groom and are difficult to find if you are a collector of them like I am. There are several stores there that sell the figurines as well as Latitude 31 and Mercedes Rusticos in the Old Port both have great selections.
Unlike many holidays in the USA, Day of the Dead is on the same days every year. It coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saint’s Day on November 1 and All Soul’s Day on November 2. In Mexico October 31 is know as All Hallows Day( the day dedicated to the children who have passed).
The shops will start setting up the “altars” on November 2 and 3rd and must be ready for viewing for competition on November 3rd before 4 p.m. There is always music and food at these events. Saturday, November 4th will be the big day and it starts around 6 p.m. This is the day the judging of the altars and Catrinas take place. Locals will also be dressing up as a Catrina and is fun to see. While you are enjoying the culture of this event, you may also want to take time to visit the cemeteries to see how the graves are decorated for the deceased. It is here where parties are held for the family members who have crossed over.
While you are in Rocky Point, stop by LEY’S grocery store for your Sugar Skulls and Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead bread). The sugar skulls are also a huge part of the celebration and are usually small and are made of sugar or what looks like sesame seed. In the south of Mexico, the skulls are made from chocolate as well and are giant works of art. Stop by Playa Bonita and see the altars in the lobby and restaurant.
Thank you for reading my blog on Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead) last week. This is a follow-up to let you know what we personally were able to take in this cultural event here in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
The festivities started on Friday October 30th so we drove to Cholla Road where the shops are located. If you are familiar with this area it has been known as Rodeo Drive or Shack’s 5th Avenue for years. It is use to be a sandy narrow 2 lane path between the rows of shops. On busy weekends, it was a mess, as someone always got stuck in the sand or if it rained, it only got worse. Leading up until about 5 years ago, that was always the way it was and we loved it. Then the city went in and did a really great job of remodeling it. New cement street and sidewalks and street lights. As that progressed, the shop owners also modernized their shops and made it a fun place to go. Within the last 2 years, Casa Bonita, Fabiola’s ( a wonderful apparel shop), an art gallery and a restaurant named Marachi and Tequila moved in. This really adds to the shopping experience. Shops have really upgraded what the carry and if you like Talavera pottery, this is the place to shop.
Back to this weekend. The city sponsored the event which started Friday night. There were over 20 altars set up in front of the shops, with many of them offering free food. A stage was set up for the music as the night progressed. As you can see from my pictures a lot of work went into these altars. There are pictures of the loved one along with candles, food, drink and a lot of flowers. Some were for the parents who had passed over and one was for a young girl who had passed. It is somber but also relaxing to learn about some of the families.
Saturday my husband and I went to a local plant nursery to get some plants and they were selling beautiful huge bouquets of flowers for $100 pesos or about $6.75 USD. They were so big, I made 2 out of them. On Sunday I went to the cemetery where families were busy cleaning and re-painting the grave sites. Some people were making a family picnic out it while cleaning. Flower and food vendors were set up out front. Very festive!
November 2nd many businesses are closed in observation of the holiday and many people remain at the cemeteries and celebrate the life of the one who has passed. Sometimes there are little bands and it is a festive event.
I think my favorite picture is at Playa Bonita that I took a couple of years ago and Day of the Dead figurines are my favorite. They are made out of either paper mache or ceramic and are skeleton in shape but also dressed. They have long bony fingers and they always have a big hat sitting on the of the skull. They may be found all over Mexico and here in Puerto Peñasco, Mercedes Rustico always has a variety of the them as well as many of the vendors on Rodeo Drive.
I hope you will enjoy the little tour that I took and hopefully next year, you can make the events. Don’t be afraid to walk the cemetery, it is a cultural event not something to get you down. The colors on the graves are so full of life. I always only get to the old one behind Ace Hardware and it is quite large. There are a lot of shade trees to stop under and just take in everything.
Until my next blog which will be on our upcoming Tequila Festival, be well and come down to visit us. The weather is beautiful and the beaches are clean. Days are I the 80’s and nights in the 60’s.
Don’t forget our 15th Annual Bike Rally November 11th – 15th. “The largest Bike Rally this side of the Border” If you are coming down, stop by the registration area at the first Circle K gas station on the left south of the new over pass and introduce your self. You can register even if you don’t own a motorcyle. Remember all money goes to our charities. $20 USD gets you a complete registration package, with pin, patch, wrist band, koozies, a bandana and so much more. Just look for the Law Tiger Balloon.
October has been a very busy month here in Puerto Peñasco. We have many beach functions as well as this weekend is known as Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. Although this may sound like a somber event, it is everything but!
It starts on Friday, October 30th, with a celebration at the Cholla Bay Road Mall (aka Shacks 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive). The party starts at 5 pm both days and I would encourage you, if you are in town to bring your camera, as there will be “altars” built in tribute to the dead. Day of the Dead was declared a World Heritage Event by UNESCO in 2003 but was inscribed in 2008 on the Representative list of the Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity in 2003. In short it is the Indigenous Festival dedicated to the dead. In Mexico, this is huge celebration to the people that have passed over to the other side.
It starts on the night of October 31st with the cleaning of the graves at the cemetery. The grave stones are swept and cleaned and decorated with flowers and prepared for the celebration on November 2nd. On the night of November 1st , the family and friends gather, with food and drinks to celebrate. Most times, the food and drink is what the dead loved, so it can be Tequila, beer or whatever. It is a party at the cemetery. When you go to local businesses, you will find “altars” or shrines built in tribute to the dead. One of my favorites is Playa Bonita in tribute to Sr. Palacio. It will be located in the lobby.
There are flower trucks set up by the cemeteries to buy the flowers and that in itself I so pretty to see. It always reminds of the South of Mexico where flowers are everywhere. Buy a bunch, they are only $50 pesos!
On November 1st it is the Day of the Innocent, which is also known as All Saints Day or Day of the Little Angels (children). Please if you have time, taken in these cultural events here and you will not regret the time spent.
Along with this tradition, now the Mexican children had adopted an American tradition of Halloween. If you are in an RV park here in Puerto Peñasco.. BE PREPARED.. as they will come in droves and you will hear “Tricky Tricky”. They are accompanied by adults which is good as these little munchkins can spot candy a mile away, so please drive carefully as many of them dress in dark colors.
There are many adult parties going on this weekend, so look over the fliers below and go to a couple.