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Life and Its Alternatives
November 5th, 2010 by Les

This article is meant to be funny.  There is not a modicum of truth in it.  Seriously.  I do not wish to give the impression I even slightly know what I’m talking about.  And, I believe, so far I’ve succeeded in reaching that goal.  You’d think that would be easy to ascertain for those who have spent any time reading what I’ve written to this point.  However, if you are visiting our site for the first time, please know nothing I say has relevance.  I spend my days looking for the humor and absurdities of a gringo’s life in Mexico.  Well, actually, just my life in Mexico.   I believe the comment: “I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools.  Let’s start with laptops used by blog writers” or some such thing, was written entirely about me.
There are many informative Internet sites you can visit to read about the Day of the Dead and its significance in the Mexican culture:  www.chapalaclub.com;  www.dayofthedead.com to name just a few.  I would encourage everyone to do so.

David has, as always, taken wonderful photographs of the parade held in the early evening on October 31st.  There will also be photographs of our visit, born of curiosity and wanting to pay our respects, with some of our dear friends, to one of the cemeteries in our small village of Ajijic.  It was an amazing experience and our hearts were touched by the love and caring evident as people of all ages worked on the final resting places of cherished people in the villagers lives.  Children’s graves were strewn with toys, baby bottles, special foods they may have enjoyed during their short time on this earth, placed lovingly near for all to see.  Adults and children’s resting places surrounded by flowers, grass trimmed just so by careful tending with loving hands.

The comments below are simply my musings and my own thoughts in regard to the inevitable and tend to lend themselves to the dark humor connected with same….

Death is not funny.  At least that’s been my experience.  Zombies can be, at times, funny if portrayed intentionally as humorous: inept, motor skills are extremely suspect and hygiene is not big on their least of “must dos”.  Most zombies, I would think, have a faith based on frisbeetarianism which is the philosophy that when you die, your soul goes up on a roof and gets stuck.

George Carlin, an American comedian of sorts, put it another way:  The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating… you finish off as an orgasm.

It goes without saying, but say it I shall, many would disagree with Mr. Carlin. Many have over time.  It would be interesting to know where he might be at the moment.  My guess, stuck on the roof.

I stood on the sidelines as the Day of the Dead parade went past our house and headed toward the Ajijic town square.  David, camera to eye, lopping after them barreling here and there getting one wonderful shot after another.  The costumes worn by the Aztec Indians were absolutely mesmerizing.  The masks, hiding some faces, were intriguing, somewhat fanciful and at times a tad frightening.  The ever present firecrackers were, as always loud.  (An aside, if you are going to live in Mexico, at least the Lake Chapala area, become one with firecrackers as they seem to be used in every celebration and activity I’ve seen/heard since moving here a year ago.  Also, be aware – they go off at any time during the day or night.)  Other than the roosters lilting sounds in early morning, firecrackers are a given, I’m venturing a guess, in most towns and villages throughout Mexico.

What I found most interesting over the past few days were the many smiles I saw on the faces of the Mexican people as they enjoyed the parade, worked on the various altars they had set up in their yards, windows, on their roof tops, in their homes and businesses and as they worked on their loved ones gravesites.  As we watched the parade or walked through the cemetery we were greeted with buenos dias, buenos tardes, hola, etc. Even in this setting everyone remained gracious and loving – a joyous celebrations for those who were heaven bound.

Humor, and in particular dark humor, has often been a companion of mine.  I would venture to guess anyone who has worked in a hospital setting, can appreciate how a well-chosen comment, perhaps dark in nature, can give wings to laughter that often allows necessary tears to flow.  The reason for the celebrations and its intertwining with the Catholic faith both perplexed and fascinated me.  The photographs below will give you an idea of the dichotomy of the day.

(There are so many photographs to share I will only present the ones taken at the parade in this blog.  Our next blog will feature the photos taken in the cemetery.)

The parade begins.

The parade begins.

Children carrying ornate balloons.

Children carrying ornate kites.

Aztec costume.

Aztec costume.

Another view of the costume.

Another view of the costume.

More costumes.

More costumes.

The feathers are amazing.

The feathers are amazing.

More feathers in many colors.

More feathers in many colors.

An interesting shot.

An interesting shot.

Same person, different shot.

Same person, different shot.

Another Aztec costume.

Another Aztec costume.

A contrasting float.

A contrasting float. This is a little girl portraying, I believe, the Virgin Mary.

They are making their way to the church in the Ajijic plaza.

They are making their way to the church in the Ajijic plaza.

The church plaza where the parade ended.

The church plaza where the parade ended.

A young parade participant and his/her dad.

A young parade participant and his/her dad.

The Aztec Indians in front of the Virgin Mary in the church yard.

The Aztec Indians in front of the Virgin Mary in the church yard.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in David’s photos.  David’s latest piece exhibiting now at the Ajijic Society of the Arts show can be seen more closely when you visit the online store.


6 Responses  
  • Bonnie Stamford writes:
    November 8th, 201011:35 amat

    Well, since I didn’t get to be there in person (and I had definitely planned to as I wanted to see the celebration of this event), your blog and pictures were the next best thing. Being a feather collector myself, I LOVED the Aztec headdresses and the variety and combination of feathers they used to make them…..definitely an art all its own. I had the priviledge of seeing some Aztec costumes a few times at the international Indian dances that take place yearly at Chimney Rock in the Pagosa Springs area in Colorado close to where I live. They were also astounding and beautiful. The Aztecs certainly know how to put a headress together!!!

  • Laurel writes:
    November 6th, 20102:20 pmat

    These photos are phenominal. I had no idea that there was so much involved with the activities for the holiday, that happened before they got to the cemetary.

    I have studied El Dia Muertos for a long time. I knew about the ofrendas, the activities at the cemetaries, the special foods and the special flowers. What rings true again is the idea that you have to be at an event to truly understand it and to appreciate it.

    Some anthropologists say that this tradidion is 3000 years old. That is much earlier than thethe dating of the
    aztec civilization.

    What an unbelievable fusion of Christianity and indigenious culture. Around the northern border there is another fusion taking place. This holiday is being mixed with the traditions of Halloween

    .Soooooo much to see and study in this world….so little time….

  • Joe & Jan Ritchie writes:
    November 6th, 20108:58 amat

    I cannot believe we missed this parade. Those costumes are amazing. Thanks Les and David
    J&J

  • Terry Williams writes:
    November 6th, 20105:27 amat

    Thanks for sharing Judy. I always love hearing what you and David are up to
    Love to You Both

  • Terry writes:
    November 6th, 20105:22 amat

    Thanks for Sharing Judy. I always love seeing your pictures.
    Love ya and Miss You

  • Susie writes:
    November 5th, 20107:23 pmat

    That’s way cooler than Halloween. Great pictures.


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