Thursday, November 02, 2006

The day of the dead, Nov. 2

Today was a national holiday, the Day of the Dead, when the living go to the city where the dead people reside. The General Cemetery of Santa Cruz looks like a little city. Its streets are lined with trees and little tombs designed to look like homes. The less wealthy end up in the equivalent of apartment houses, with the crypts stacked on top of each other in neat rows.
The city of the dead was packed with family members, who brought along their folding chairs and refreshments to sit by the crypts of their departed loved ones and have a little chat. It's a matter of family pride to have fresh flowers on your departed's headstone. Everyone will notice if a grave is neglected. Size of the bouquet seems to matter. The bigger tombs had arrangements of like proportions.

The city's main flower market lies outside the cemetery and the merchants were doing a brisk business. To prevent price gouging, the city established fixed rates just for today. So much for a dozen roses, so much for carnations. On the opposite side of the street, vendors took advantage of the street's closing for the holiday and offered all kinds of food and other goods.
I've never seen anything like this before.

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