Photo Walk Nº25 – San Angel and Day-of-the-Dead traditions

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Photo Walk Nº25 took us to San Angel, with the specific theme of Day-of-the-Dead traditions. Although November 2nd was still one week away, we were able to learn about how Mexicans celebrate their Dia de Muertos and see some ofrendas set up to honor people who have died.

We met in the Plaza del Carmen and had an introductory talk about this very Mexican tradition and were given a list of specific things to look out for and to photograph, all relative to the Dia de Muertos. These included papel picado, candles, sugar skulls, and the marigolds or cempasuchil flowers.

Our first main stop was the Casa del Risco where we saw the unique fountain in the patio with its plates, platters and shells from all over Asia, Europe and Mexico. At the entrance was an ofrenda in the shape of this fountain and in honor of Isidro Fabela, who used to live in this mansion. There was also a smaller one  for José Guadalupe Posada, the creator of the very popular figure of La Catrina, a high-society lady skeleton, alongside an exhibition of old newspapers cuttings with his skeleton illustrations on display. We spent some time here photographing the different elements making up the ofrenda.

Our second visit was to the Mercado Múzquiz, where in addition to the usual market stalls, many extra stands were set up to sell all kinds of items for the Day of the Dead, such as sugar skulls, skeletons, costumes, flowers, papel picado and other things. At some of the stands they were more than happy to let us take photos and explain the significance of the products.

Finally, we crossed the street to the Museo de El Carmen, an ex-Carmelite convent, where we stepped back into the 16oos and also went down into the crypts under the church to see the Momias de San Angel, 12 mummies of local people found here during the Mexican Revolution and who had been left in the crypts in 1861 when the convent was sealed up. The bodies were naturally mummified by the special conditions there and today can be seen in coffins with their clothes still intact. All in all, it was a fitting end to the Photo Walk with the Day-of-the-Dead theme.


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