A Mexican Fiesta Day

This is a pretty broad generalization, but i think it’s safe to say that most Mexicans love a fiesta.  Fiestas consist of eating, drinking, and hanging out with family and friends for a fairly extended period.  Since music always makes a fiesta better, if you can afford it, you hire a mariachi band.  If  you can’t, then maybe some of the guys will bring their guitars, or you can always crank up the radio or the CD player. 

What’s important is that the family is there enjoying themselves. 

Every year on November 2nd — doesn’t matter what day of the week it is — there are fiestas going on all over Mexico.  The kids are running around playing.  The older folks have their white or green plastic lawn chairs to sit on while they talk about the folks who aren’t there and swap stories about the past.  The area is decorated with flowers and balloons, streamers and candles.  It’s a riot of color.

The only thing that makes the November 2nd fiestas a bit different, other than the number of them, is that they are held in panteons, or cemetaries, all over Mexico.  And instead of being an occasion on which you recognize someone’s birthday or school graduation or anniversary, it’s a celebration of life….yours and the lives of those who have left the corporeal plain. 

In every panteon in Mexico, folks will spend the next couple of days cleaning and decorating the plots of their loved ones.  How much sprucing up is done depends upon how much time and money a family has.  The results can range from this very elaborate site:

to this fairly simple one:

Every grave gets something, no matter how unassuming the plot:




 It doesn’t matter how large and elaborate or how small and simple these fiestas are, it’s nice to know that at least one day of the year, every year, somebody is thinking about you.


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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6 Responses to A Mexican Fiesta Day

  1. Ed says:

    Very interesting article,mi Amiga! Nice photographs, too. As you know, November 2nd is also a big day here in the U.S. this year, but for an entirely different reason. The paths of many of our esteemed politicians will lead them to panteons instead of the offices that they were running for (and that is as it should be) – but those panteons will not be nearly as attractive as the ones in Mexico!!!

  2. Sheila says:

    And then there’s November 1st, Day of the Angelitos, remembering the babies who have died. Our cleaning lady’s baby died when he was just five months old. Last year we went to the Ajijic cemetary to visit with the family and brought a rattle he played with and some marigolds to put on his little grave. It was very moving. The whole family was there, grandma, aunties, cousins, big brother and Mom.

  3. Barbara says:

    Ed: thanks. and, yes, our panteons are WAY nicer here.

    Sheila: i was going to mention november 1, but it usually makes people so sad. i am going to do another post, however, about the street altars in chapala. thanks again for reading!

  4. Beck says:

    Barb, I love the way Mexicans honor those who have passed.

    • Barbara says:

      beck: thanks for checking out our new blog.

      the older i get, the more i appreciate the mexican way of looking at death (i.e. just another passage that your soul goes through).

  5. Gigi says:

    Oh, I love this day and your post about it! The pix are perfect.

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