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Day of the Dead in Angangueo

November 7, 2013

Dear Friends,
As every year since our ancient ancestors' time, we have celebrate the Day of the Dead all over México on November 1st and 2nd. We remember our dead relatives these days as a sign of permanent connection with them. Our ancestors assured us that the monarchs that arrive at the same time of year are the souls of our dear, dead ones to which we await. With joy and festivities at their graves and at our homes, we serve meals and place the objects that symbolize the aspects of life they most enjoyed.

As you may know, in January 2002 there was a terrible hail storm that killed over 80% of the Monarchs here. We decided to make a traditional Mexican ofrenda to the monarchs as a way to render honor to their passing that historical year. A couple of days beforehand, José Alberto, Rosa Isela, Erika, Javier and I planned the organization for the ofrenda. Here is what chose:

Papel Picado
The typical colored "Papel Picado" is the kind of paper that's exclusive for decoration of ofrendas. it is sold only during these days every year.

The bright orange Zempatzúchitl (marigold) is the traditional flower for this day at cemeteries. People say the color and fragrance guide the spirits home.

Lighted candles also help souls come to this place of adoration and then go back to heaven (underworld). Candles mean light, hope, and faith.

We included typical bread for these days, tamales, water, and locally-made sweet fruit.

Photos give relevance and intensity to the remembrance of our dead. This photo is of the historical pot containing a sample of the dead Monarchs and a graphical representation of their life cycle as the origin of their existence.

This is only a small, symbolic proportion of what a real, typical, Mexican Ofrenda gets. Once the candles were lighted we made a very solemn moment and prayed. The five of us were reflecting about the survival challenge for Monarchs directly related to their habitat conservation.  

Greetings to all of you since this ancestral atmosphere and time in all México and in Angangueo. 

Until then,

José Alberto, Rosa Isela, Erika, Javier and Estela.
Angangueo, Michocán, México

Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
Located in the mountains near the two largest monarch sanctuaries.
Monarch Wintering Sites
The region in central México where monarchs overwinter.


Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico