Day of the Dead in the Highlands of Chiapas
Thirty minutes from San Cristobal, the preparations in the Romerillo community begin at the end of October, before the arrival of the souls of the departed. Romerillo belongs to Chamula, at 2439 meters above sea level, the forest and fresh air surrouns the community. The Tzotsil traditions to celebrate Dia de Muertos are ancient and very colorful. Families await these dates with faith and devotion. “You have to welcome them well, they come from afar to visit us and see how we are”, say the locals.
On November 1, everything is ready. The large wooden crosses, almost 10 meters high, prevail and dominate the view of the place. The mashes (monkey men) are dancing in the middle of a labyrinth of crosses and graves adorned with flowers to the rhythm of the music of violin, harp and drum. When you walk among them, the smell of incense and sempazuchil flower invades your senses and your mind is transported to a mystical place where everything you have heard about the celebration of Day of the Dead takes meaning and becomes reality.
Offerings, food, pan de muertos (bread for the dead), sweets and pox (local brandy) are placed on the graves. The candles are lit and sheltered in the niches so that the wind does not blow them out. “They have to find their way back home, in the dark they cannot get here.” According to tradition the light and the smell of flowers guide the path of souls. Families gather on the grave of their dead and tell stories of those who have already left. This ceremony serves to keep their memory present and transmit the knowledge and ceremonies to the next generation. “This is how tradition is preserved. When I die, I want my family to bring me my posh and my sweet bread” says Juan, proud of his roots and customs.
If you want to see the celebrations with your own eyes and learn more about the tradition, join us on our special TOUR 31 oct. – 1 nov. – 2 nov.