Since pre-Hispanic Aztec times, the scent of wild marigold or cempaxuchitl has guided the dead back to loved ones for the celebration we know as Day of the Dead. Marigolds are spiritual, healing, calming.
It’s the rainy season in Oaxaca. Since August, late afternoon rains have turned the dry earth into a fertile field of wild flowers and berries. It seems like the cactus have grown a foot since I left. Wild marigolds populate the landscape. It is a blanket of golden and green.
Yellow covers construction sites, spent corn fields, fence lines, foundations, patios, and hillsides. Soon, vases will contain them.
Now, I am preparing for our Day of the Dead Photography Expedition which begins on October 28. Calendas, or processions, will fill the streets and revelers will carry bouquets of wild and cultivated marigolds. Marigolds will dominate home altars and grave sites. Petals will line a path leading to the altars to make the journey home easier for the deceased.
The fragrance of marigold will fill the air. Their color will bring joy to the living.
Experience Oaxaca. 2014 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat starts February 28. Two spaces left!