In the Cenart, revelry of catrinas, witches and vampires

At nightfall, ghosts, catrinas, witches, vampires, an astronaut with a skull face and other characters run and scream at the National Center for the Arts. A mournful and melancholy song ran through the dark paths of the gardens with the cardenches a cappella songs that were born from pain in the fields of the north of the country. “I will never die”, the lament was heard, “I am leaving. Bye woman. Goodbye, forever, goodbye.”

The night visit last Tuesday ended with a great party animated with batucada drums. On the first day of activities of the Calacas Fair, some 15,000 attendees attended, according to figures from Alas y Raíces, the federal program that organizes the festival that revived the soul of the cultural space in honor of loved ones who have gone to the afterlife . The deserted meadows at night came to life, between paths lit by candles and scents of flowers.

Shortly after it got dark and the flames were lit, a few drops of rain fell, the air became rough, and thunder presaged a storm that never came. Instead, the procession led by the Acardenchado Choir appeared, lit by candles and giving cempasuchil flowers. The group revives this song of the old sages, knowing with threats of disappearing.

The first stop was in honor of the faithful departed, in front of one of the offerings. “Dad, who is that in the photo? Are you going to explain it?”, asked a restless child, while the people gathered in a circle to listen to the cardenche songs. Later, he followed the path through the shadows, guided by the brightness of the flames, stopping between the arches covered with flowers and candles. “I’m going to die in the desert.” Poetry, tenths and lyrics of these songs from the fields of Durango and Coahuila were recited, which express the pain of the broken heart and the distance of beings who have departed.

Many children, indifferent to the song “the owl arrives, heralds death”, kept rolling through the grass, running and playing. The great offering with Frida in the center, protected by skulls that shone inside, attracted a lot of attention. Above all, the small calaquitas with musical instruments that were activated with cranks, cords and levers by the curious little ones. “One does not leave completely, as long as there is someone who repeats your name”, the procession continued.

Crafts, food, t-shirts, stickers…

The sale of delicious dishes from the states of the country was about to end. The row of stalls with different handicrafts were still open, most featuring the skinny calaca: T-shirts, hats, jewelry, confetti, stickers, puppets and dolls stood out among the great variety. At the entrance of the Higher School of Music, lit by its half-moon façade, band music played that made everyone who passed by dance. Dead bread, face painting, graphics, were some of the signs that shared the scene.

During the day, the program prepared for the holiday began at 11 in the morning. Free performances of theater, music, oral narrations and workshops welcomed the thousands of visitors, many dressed for the special occasion, whether they were children, youth or jubilant adults. The lines to enter the forums demonstrated the great interest generated by the return of the party dedicated to the skulls. Yesterday the activities continued, also until 8 at night.

A parade with six rhythmic drums dominated the procession of dancers. Jade, two and a half years old, watched smiling from the shoulders of her dad, her cadence and joy could be the envy of any dancer. The little girl stood out among the mass of bodies that moved animatedly, the cempasuchil flowers transformed into maracas that resounded to the beat of the percussions.

“This is the time of death, all light is dimmed between my fingers.” Indifferent, the catrinas, ghosts and little witches run through the dark meadows.

In the Cenart, revelry of catrinas, witches and vampires