Hallowe'en in Mexico

a head made out of sugar
Today is Hallowe’en and even though in Mexico we celebrate Día de Muertos on 1 and 2 November people here love to dress up on the 31st. 

Children go to school in disguise, people come to work in crazy costumes, families go out trick and treating in the streets in the early evening, there are lots of parties. Needless to say the big supermarkets sell loads of stuff relating to Hallowe’en – disguises, sweets, masks, face paints, etc. - and so what is really an English and American celebration is now part of the scene here too. 

That’s not to say people don’t still do the Mexican traditional activities on the 1st and 2nd, they certainly do. There will be altars (ofrendas) in the majority of the houses, people will be making trips to the cemeteries to clean up the tombs and place flowers and food on them, and in companies and museums, even government offices, the decorations are amazing. They all feature the usual elements of flowers, candles, incense, skeletons and heads made out of chocolate or sugar, mole, rice and beans, tequila and beer, salt and lemons, different coloured and shapes squash, and many other things. The Hallowe’en craze here is really because the supermarkets have known how to sell it and everyone is caught up in the American spookiness for this day. I blame Walmart, they sell more stuff here than any other supermarket chain.
Pancho and Panchito contemplating life after death...
Anyway, we at the office decided to come disguised today too and so everyone turned up in different guises, which meant that we all had a good laugh. Then we had pan de muertos (dead bread) and coffee and a thousand photos taken and posted on Facebook. I brought Panchito in with me to dangle round my neck, he is a papier-mâché mini skeleton and so he and Pancho will be returning with me back home tonight. I was to all intents and purposes a ghost, but it was hard to tell, apparently… Ah, and we have the day off tomorrow so we can pay respects to our dear loved ones who are no longer of this world.

I just went up to the university campus to get vegetables and lots of people were walking around looking ghoulish. Both my stepdaughters are posting photos on Facebook of them with their children all in very elaborate costumes, both here and in France (where the younger of the two is living). It seems this is a universal celebration nowadays.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Dead bread, or pan de muerto


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