With all the celebrations, costumes and face painting, it's easy to forget what Day of the Dead and the days surrounding it are all about. It's not scary, even though it looks to be. It's a celebration of life and a way to stay connected to the people that are gone.
Families work hours cleaning and decorating the graves of their loved ones.
I thought going to the cemetery on Day of the Dead would be fine; thought I could handle it. After all, I grew up going to Decoration Day in the south. Southerners don't shy away from death or a funeral. That's why we have all those casserole dishes!
Walking in with the crowd, I got about 50 feet in when I saw a man and woman putting toys on a grave decorated with blue and pink balloons. Baby toys. Baby balloons. I lost it and had to leave the line and go off by myself (harder than you think, the place is packed) and gather myself.
Some of the families were celebratory. Music was playing and they were dancing and drinking.
Others are more quiet and poignant.
The amount of trouble that the families go through to make the day special amazed me. One family even brought cages of chickens out to the cemetery! I thought maybe the deceased was a farmer, but more than likely these were fighting cocks.
It was a great day and a reminder that we are not in this world for long, so we have to make it the best we can and to not let a little thing like a cemetery and loads of family members get in the way of love!