At night, with everything ready, the dances begin. The Danza de los Viejitos, Dance of the Old Men, is the representative dance of this region. In pre-Hispanic times this dance was performed as a ritual honoring the Sun.

Another popular dance is the Pescado Blanco, White Fish, through which the inhabitants of Janitzio express their gratitude to the lake since fishing is their most important economic activity.

Also at night, as a way of expressing their gratitude to God for all the blessings they have been given, the fishermen go out to the lake with their canoes, lighting the way with torches and carrying out an impressive ritual with their butterfly nets.

panteon mujer vela

The graveyard of the island is now the place in which living and dead will reunite once again.

I can hear the bell at the entrance ringing all night long. It is calling the souls to return and enjoy the splendid ceremony. There are mainly women and children who silently find the tombs of their relatives, on which they place the lovely embroidered napkins and set candles, flowers, and food that their dead relatives so much enjoyed when alive.

This is how the vigil goes by, with prayers and chants from the women and children. Meanwhile, the men silently observe what goes on. Their songs and prayers are elevated to the sky, asking for the eternal rest of the souls and for the happiness of the living.

The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, and their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence.

The Day of the Dead is a grand celebration of life itself!

May Herz

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