Halloween and Day of the Dead in Mexico – 2nd year of the Pandemic

Greetings once again from Colima, Mexico. Autumn is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, the nights and early morning hours are cooler, though we are still very hot during the day. It should have been the end of the rainy season, but it isn’t ready to quit just yet – we’ll have a few days of rain, a few hot and dry days, and then a light rain again. As of today, it’s been 7 days since the last rain, but we have had several nights of heavy mist. It reminds me of scary movies, with waves of heavy mist visible in the night resembling waves such as you see in the ocean.

In the northeast of the United States and in Canada, the leaves on the trees are turning many colors – red, orange, yellow, brown – before they fall onto the ground making a brown carpet covering lawns and forest floors. Here in Colima, everything is staying green, and honestly, I don’t miss the changing of the colors. Before the end of October, before it was Halloween and Day of the Dead, stores here, like stores in the United States, were already displaying their Christmas merchandise – shelves full of toys, artificial Christmas trees, Christmas lights, etc., etc. Unbelievable………..

Because the SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19) pandemic is still with us, our yearly celebrations have once again been muted. I had heard that some children would be in the street Trick-or-Treating, so I went into Colima and bought a bag of candy to be prepared – and not a single child showed up. So – I donated the candy to Project Amigo, our local literacy project and told them they could use the candy for their Christmas Fiesta in December. The candy was composed of “Pop” (caramel popcorn), “Takis” and “Runners.” I was tempted and did eat one mini-bag of the popcorn, but the Takis and Runners were definitely safe from me – they are treats which are Enchiloso, HOT and SPICY…..

Regarding Enchiloso, there are some Mexicans who don’t eat hot and spicy, but I was amazed at even young children who like it. When I began volunteering with Project Amigo, one of the things we did was have a beach day with the primary school kids. For many of them, it was their first time visiting the ocean. At lunch time, I would see these little, little boys and girls opening their bags of chips and pouring on Valentina Sauce – a hot sauce popular here.

I couldn’t believe it, and wondered if they became accustomed to it by exposure before birth or through their mothers’ milk – just a wild guess….. I DO keep a bottle of Valentina sauce in my kitchen for guests and I tell them I won’t be upset if they want to put it on their food, since my cooking seems bland to some of my visitors.

Anyway, as I said, a very muted holiday this year. My only contribution via decorations are these two skulls hanging from my porch ceiling and the marigolds I have planted. My cat Ginger seems to feel that I have made her a nice bed, and loves to nap in the marigolds, and a spider has decided to add to the season with a spider web near the skulls.

Yes, it is also spider season here, as it is every year at the end of the rainy season. When I go out of my house into my garden every morning, or even other times of the day, I take my walking stick and wave it up and down in front of me to move aside any spider webs. You can’t always see them if the sunlight is in the wrong position or if there is no spider immediately visible. It would look to others like I am a crazy person waving a stick at nothing, but a few times I have walked into a face-full of spider web when I did not proceed with caution.

So, Halloween was a bust, and Day of the Dead was celebrated in a muted way. Houses still had altars inside, and a Mass was held at the Catholic church, with people social distancing and wearing masks, and fewer people attending than would normally be there. Some people decided to decorate the gazebo in the village square, and I’m glad I snapped a photo when I did, as the Catrinas were all gone the next morning.

Mexico uses the stoplight system to let the public know the severity of Covid and therefore which precautions will be in place. Currently, there are 29 states in the green (least restrictive), 2 states yellow and one state orange. No red states – YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! S0 – we still wear masks when out in public, and when entering businesses we get a temperature check, step on a mat with disinfectant and get a squirt of hand gel to disinfect our hands. Three days ago, in-person school began in my village of Cofradía. Eight students per classroom for two hours every day. Every two hours, those students leave and are replaced by eight more students per classroom.
Meanwhile, nature carries on. One of my banana tress is now producing bananas.

My chayote vines are producing so many chayotes that I can’t give them away fast enough and still have plenty for myself. And it’s a good thing that when I plant something new, I spread it around my property to see where the new plant is happiest.. My latest experiment was blue corn, which I planted in 4 different spots around the property. You can see that they didn’t care for being planted along the wall at the side of my house and died

but LOVE the sunny spot next to my car port, where they must be about 10 feet tall at the moment.

When all the ears are harvested, I’m going to buy a molcajete (mortar and pestle) and grind the corn to make blue tortillas from scratch.

Well, I have run out of things to say at the moment, so I wish all my readers a safe and healthy weekend, and until next time –

¡Adios! and ¡Nos vemos!

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