Dia de Los Muertos | Janitzio

After we napped we woke up to a sea of people in the center of Patzcuaro. The amount of tourists had tripled if not quadrupled in the hour we had been in the car. We made our way down to the pier to get a boat over to the the island of Janitzio where we had planned to spend the night in the panteon. The majority of the people seemed to be adolescents drinking like we were on a party boat in Cancun which was definitely not we what had come for, but we dealt with it nonetheless. We got to the island and seperated ourselves from the crowd to start our way up the steep walkways that lead to the panteon and then proceeded to wait for a few hours until the procession came through. At this point it was essentially a mad house. People with beers, others shoving their cameras in the faces of the women walking by and Regina and I trying to be discrete and stop the pushing that was beginning on the outskirts of the crowd. As it happened the procession ended up passing directly in front of us and I was able to document the hecticness which can be seen in the face of one of the younger girls as she looks back through the crowd once she passed through.

We made our way inside the gates and it was dark. Pitch black. Since we were some of the first inside the altars hadn’t all been set up yet. You could make out figures next to some of the tombs, but not much more. Women lighting candles, placing baskets of bread and sweets next to the graves. Most of the people there to view were just walking directly through the panteon and up the hill then back down the other side to the waiting boat or stumbling as it were in the cases of the more inebriated visitors. We broke apart and made our way over to the edge of the panteon and set our candles in front of one of the tombs which were more or less retangular plots of dirt cordoned off by rocks. We spent the entire night in that spot watching the women and families come and place their offerings. Every time someone made their way towards us I thought this is it, this is the family of whomever we are holding vigil for, but no one stopped at our tomb. The entire night we waited and no one came. The rest of the tombs were adorned with flowers and candles and each one had someone sitting or sleeping next to it the entire night, but no one came to claim where we were sitting. We held vigil over that tomb all night into the early hours of the morning. Once the tourists and photographers started to make their way through again we said our goodbyes and made our exit. Tired, but content.

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