El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

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Vehicles are parked on both sides of the street as far as I can see. I find a clearing and pull off onto the side of the road to park the truck.

Two young girls walk past hand in hand with their grandma. Each carries a bouquet of bright red flowers. As I approach the cemetery I hear music in the distance. Suddenly I’m covered head to toe in goosebumps.

It’s November 2nd and hundreds of people are gathered in the cemetery to celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

Day of the Dead: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– El Dia de Los Muertos: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Families have spent the last couple of days cleaning up and decorating the grave sites of their loved ones. They have come together today to honor and celebrate the lives of friends and family members that have passed.

Cleaning Up: Dia de Los Muertos, SJDS, Nicaragua

Aside from the tombstones the scene before me mirrors that of a busy park on a sunny Sunday – anywhere in North America.

Refreshments of all kinds including ice cream, cotton candy and snow cones are available for purchase. Typical Nicaraguan dishes such as vigarón and barbecued chicken are also available. Some families have come prepared toting their own picnic.

Dia de Los Muertos: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Ice Cream Vendor: Dia de Los Muertos, SJDS, Nicaragua

Children are playing quietly. Long time neighbors and family friends are enjoying the day together. They share stories of their lost loved ones. Some tales invoke a tear, but most bring laughter, or at least a smile.

Day of the Dead: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Day of the Dead: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
A lone chicken crosses my path and a couple of children run by.

I look around taking in this celebration with awe and amazement and I think to myself, “Why don’t we do this in Canada?”

Posted on November 2, 2015, in People & Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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