Altars, Altars Everywhere: Oaxaca Muertos 2009

This is a spectacular time of year to be in Oaxaca.  The streets are filled with music, parades, costumes, tourists, and cars.  It can take 30 minutes to get through the historic district in a taxi.  There is excitement and energy in the air with preparations for when beloved departed will return to earth to visit and those who remember them honor their memory.  Altars are everywhere:  in restaurants, hotels, homes, in street vendors’ stalls, shops and tiendas.  Every one is a work of art, incorporating food, drink, photos of the departed, bright marigold flowers, and special touches applied by each creator.  At Restaurante Azucena at the San Martin Tilcajete crossroads, the altar used the seven varieties of indigenous corn, yellow-orange marigolds, sugar skulls, and the light of many votives.  Bamboo fronds form the arch from which to hang fruit, bread, and chocolate.  On Sunday, we will go to Teotitlan to participate in the family ritual of decorating the altar, the center of religious and spiritual home life.  Today, we will accompany the family to the Abastos market to shop for all the goodies.

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