Mexico City held a Day of the Dead parade honoring earthquake rescuers and victims on Saturday. A raised fist was the sign to pay tribute to rescuers at the Zocalo Square. Where thousands of Mexicans gathered to pay tribute to the victims and rescuers of the deadly earthquake that took place last September.
Day of the Dead is usually held on November 2nd with rituals in town plazas, homes and cemeteries leading up to All Satin’s Day.
Thousands of painted faces as skulls and bodies made up of skeletons took the streets of Mexico City on Saturday. This Day of the Dead parade was a way to pay tribute to the victims of the earthquake last month.
The procession was led by a giant raised fist made of helmets, pickaxes, and broken rubble rolled ahead of skeletons signifying the resilient spirit of a country hit with one of its worst calamities in decades.
Volunteers who took part in the recuse operations of last month’s earthquake were also part of the parade, walking alongside in solidarity.
They wore fluorescent aid-worker vests and marched with fists in the air. The poignant gesture was a tribute to the rescuers who used the fist as a signal asking for silence as they listened for desperate survivors in the rubble from the second quake.
September 7th’s 8.2magnitudee earthquake was the most powerful to hit Mexico in a century, leaving a trail of collapsed buildings and scattering residents in the streets as well as 228 victims.
The scary quake also brought up the very best in Mexicans who came together in such a difficult moment in order to help others volunteering as rescuers and donating food, blankets and more.
But the strongest earthquake in a century didn’t diminish the traditional Mexican celebration, which instead became a heartfelt way to the honor victims.
“For us, as a society, it was something very violent that moved our conscience,” said Ramon Marquez a parade attendant who wore an orange t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase #fuerzamorelos (Be strong Morelos) referring to one of the areas affected by the quake.
¨We had an obligation to pay tribute¨
The event definitely prompted some late changes in the program.
“We had an obligation to pay tribute to the fallen while transmitting the message that the city is still standing,” parade coordinator Julio Blasino said.
More than 700 performers prepared for months for the colorful afternoon procession along more than four miles of the Paseo de la Reforma.
This year marked the second time Mexico City plays host to the parade, which was only introduced last year in an effort to attract more tourists to the city.
The parade was sponsored by Mexico’s tourism and culture ministries and came to life as a way to attract more tourists. It was inspired by a Day of the Dead parade featured in the opening sequence of James Bond film ‘Spectre.’
The Bond film’s popularity prompted Mexico City officials to put on a carnivalesque spectacle. While the event has added a kind of Halloween-esque aspect, the event’s organizers say the parade is not about emulating a Hollywood production.
“The point of this parade is to celebrate life,” said Anima founder and Artistic Director Alejandra Gonzalez Anaya.
“It’s to put on the radar of Mexicans an important tradition … so we feel proud of showing something so important from Mexico to the world.”
Celebrating life and death
Day of the Dead’s celebration is traced back thousands of years to Mesoamerican festivals. When people believed that the dead returned temporarily to Earth.
However, Day of the Day celebration is also meant as a celebration of life.
“We’re not only here to celebrate and dance. But also when there’s a disastrous situation we come together to help,” Violeta Canella Juárez.
The celebration traditionally consisted of quiet family gatherings at the graves of their departed loved ones. To celebrate their lives by bringing the music, drink, and conversation.
Mexicans use to set up altars in their homes on the Nov. 1-2 holiday, with photographs of the dead and plates of their favorite foods.
In some towns, families used to leave a trail of orange marigold petals in a path to their doorways so the spirits of the dead can find their way home.
Others would light bonfires for the same purpose. Sitting around the fire and warming themselves with cups of boiled-fruit punch to ward off the autumn chill.
This was the traditional way to celebrate it. Day of the Dead is increasingly celebrated with parades rife with floats, giant skeleton marionettes and thousands of participants.
You can also see the American influence. Such as American Halloween celebrations and Hollywood zombie films which are also common.
Now though, large-scale parties and parades are becoming the norm. Local news media reported that at least 300,000 people attended Saturday’s parade, up from 200,000 last year.