Friday, November 5, 2010
Dia de los Muertos
On Tuesday, November 2nd, everyone in Suchitoto, and probably everyone in El Salvador, headed to the cemetery to celebrate All Soul's Day, or the Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It's a simpler fiesta here than in Mexico (from what I understand), and it's very beautiful. On this day, everyone cleans and paints and decorates the family tomb or tombs (in our local cemetery in Suchitoto there are a variety of gravesites, ranging from the grand and elaborate to the simple mound of earth that one woman was lovingly weeding). Flowers, both artificial and real, are placed on the tombs, families gather to share memories, and mass is celebrated. It's a joyful and sorrowful occasion, all wrapped up in one.
Tonight it was time for another very special fiesta, the Dia del Motorista. Sirens and blowing horns alerted us to something out of the ordinary, and we opened the door to wave to this procession of buses, decorated with balloons and happy passengers. Bus drivers and conductors are the most essential and most endangered occupation in this country; almost everyone relies on the buses for transportation, and they are all too often targets for gangs and extortionists. It was a joy to join in celebrating these ordinary heroes.