November 1st (Friday) is All Saints Day. Everyone who is celebrating sets up a large table at their house. The table is set up for the deceased relatives of the family (in this case, Tía Rosi's parents have both passed away in the past year, so the table was for both of them). The table contains all kinds of food that the deceased person(s) liked to eat. The table must be ready by 11am.
Starting around noon on All Saints Day, it's believed that the spirits of the deceased return and eat from the table. Friends and other relatives may come visit the table. They pray and sing songs for the deceased, then the family gives them masitas (little breads) and a small cup of wine in exchange for the prayers. This goes on through the night until 12pm the next day.
November 2nd (Saturday) is Day of the Dead. At 12pm, a group of people who comes to pray and sing may decide that they would like to say special prayers for the deceased in exchange for all of the food on the table. Then, two people from the group must dress in all black, representing the spirits of the deceased. They take sticks and call out names of the deceased person's relatives. They hit those people with the sticks (not hard... just whack them). This year they called out all of the children (meaning Tía Rosi and her siblings), but last year they called out all of the grandchildren. Then, the "spirits" run out of the house and down the street so signify the spirits of the deceased returning to the cemetery.
After the spirits have left, everyone packs up the leftover masitas and extra food and heads to the cemetery. While at the cemetery, they use the masitas and food to decorate the tombs. More people may come and pray for the deceased. There were several small bands wandering around, and the family can choose to pay them to play a few special songs for the deceased person. When the family is ready to leave, they pack up all of the masitas and leftover food again and head home.
This was a celebration unlike any other I've seen, but I'm so glad Tía Rosi invited me to celebrate with her and her family!
I so badly wanted to take pictures of the table and the celebrations, but I felt like it was just too inappropriate. I only have a couple pictures to document the
On the way to Tía Rosi's house... C. was perfectly well-behaved and slept all weekend long!
This has nothing to do with the Day of the Dead, but this random cow was hanging out on the side of the road in Chulla, not too far from Tía Rosi's house!
The only picture I took while at Tía Rosi's house. This little girl (Tía Rosi's great-niece) was in love with baby C. and followed me around, begging to hold her all weekend!