This time last year we were in Mexico -- we left here on November 1 and arrived there in time for the Days of the Dead. In Mexico City, the grand ofrenda was amazing -- giant skulls made of fiberglass, painted with bright flowers and geometric designs. There were "Aztec" priests in the Zocalo, chanting, burning copal, and selling blessings -- including blessings for the Mexican hairless dogs called "perritos Aztecas" (little Aztec dogs).
The idea is somewhat similar to that of Halloween -- the time when there is an opening between our world and the world of the dead, and each of us can cross over to visit the other. Homes, restaurants, hotels, offices all display a table with offerings for the dead of cigarettes, drinks, special foods, photos, perfumes, anything and everything the dead person enjoyed in life. The whole thing is edged with elaborate paper cutouts in black, red and orange -- very beautiful, but very hard to transport.
We visited a cemetery in a small village near Cuernavaca where the graves and tombs were decorated with the traditional flowers -- marigolds and red amaranthus caudatus, which we call love lies bleeding, and again the offerings of favourite things. There were candles everywhere, both to light the way for the families who are visiting and also to light the way for the beloved spirits return.
And, to bring this into the realm of gardening, the first picture is of the wall of the hotel garden in Cuernavaca -- the vine is called cupo de oro