MEXICO: El Dia de los Muertos in Patzcuaro
The town of Patzcuaro, situated on a lovely lake of the same name, is located in the state of Michoacan in central Mexico. Although the historical and religious basis of el dia de los muertos is the same in Patzcuaro as in Oaxaca, the tone and ambience of the celebrations are quite distinctive—which is characteristic of the strong local and regional traditions preserved throughout Mexico. Although commercial aspects and rowdiness are not entirely absent, el dia de los muertos is celebrated in the villages near the town and on the island community of Janitzio on the lake in an atmosphere of deep spirituality that is especially beautiful. This portfolio opens with a view of Janitzio across the lake where local fishermen cast their distinctive nets; these nets and the fishing upon which the community relies are central to the holiday decoration of the interior of one of the churches on the island. As the day of the dead becomes the night of the dead, we move from Janitzio’s beautifully situated cemetery to candle and flower filled cemeteries in small villages onshore: Tzurumutaro, Ihuatzio, and Cucuchucho. Lastly, we arrive in the village of Arocutin, where an early morning mass is celebrated for those who have spent the night in a vigil at the graves of their loved ones.