Sunday, November 9, 2014

Patzcuarro, Michoacan 2014

Patzcuarro, Michoacan

One of my favorite times of the year and preferred place to be during said time of year is Dia De Los Muertos in Michoacan.

This year, as in years past, we made the pilgrimage to Patzcuarro, Michoacan to welcome the spirits into our world and commune with them for 2 nights.

Vista from La Posada Camelinas

As we approached the small town, I felt the energy of spirits, both living and past, rushing into this vortex location.  Everone seemed in a hurry to purchase marigolds and cock's combs for their altars, to make sure the favorite foods of their dearly departed were prepared properly and on time.

Biblioteca Gertrudis Bocanegro

Juan O’Gorman mural 

And everywhere the color and scent of Cempasuchil or marigolds caressed our senses.  The creation of the altars were in high gear.  It seemed as if around every corner people were creating gravesite altar ofrendas for their loved ones.

The Temple Sagrario

The town of Patzcuarro was founded sometime in the 1320s, at first becoming the capital of the Tarascan state and later its ceremonial center. After the Spanish took over, Vasco de Quiroga worked to make Pátzcuaro the capital of the New Spain province of Michoacán, but after his death, the capital would be moved to nearby Valladolid (today Morelia).

Anima Feliz

Oxalis Triangularis (Purple Shamrock)

Concurso  Estatal de Artesanías 

Another draw of Patzcuarro is that the State Folk Art Competition and Exhibition is held there every year, with the winners being chosen and announced on the 1st of November.  To be present, to see the best folk art of the state of Michoacan displayed is truly an honor and a treat!

Catrina Aquatica 
(barro negro)


Los Catrines


I usually awoke at daybreak, to stroll through the plazas and watch the day begin.  Truckloads of fragrant flowers and fresh produce would arrive at the markets, the fires would be lit to cook delicious breakfast foods of pozole, sopes, gorditas, atole and the local tamales (uchepos y corundas).  Smoke and the senses were aroused, mixed with the spirits wafting throughout this pueblo magico.

Cempasuchil Delivery

Cesar Silva Hernandez
Ihuatzio Straw Art

One of our favorite folkart materials/disciplines is straw art from the community of Ihuatzio, Michoacan. Cesar starts his work with materials from Lake Pátzcuaro using straw and chuspata. This art/craft is a family tradition that is handed down from generation to generation.  Cesar is a 4th generation straw artists from Ihuatzio who sells his work at the House of the 11 Patios in Patzcuarro.  We were fortunate to meet him and bring home some of his treasures.

Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Salud

Another Day of the Dead tradition is to head to the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Salud on Nov. 2nd in the evening to hear the Orquest Sinfonica de Michoacan perform Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms.  What I love about this performance is that it is free to the public and well attended.

Instead of heading into the cemetery for Noche de Muertos we opted to visit the cemetery the day of Nov. 2nd. and chose the town of TzinTzunTzan as our destination.  The family vigils continued throughout the day and without the veil of darkness usually afforded to us, the cemetery seemed raw and our presence felt more strongly by the families.

We respectfully wandered through the gravesites, noting the family groups and were allowed to take photographs of the wonderful altars.

Another aspect of the annual State Folk Art Competition and Exhibition is the presence of contemporary art and the amazing exhibition that is also curated during this time of year.  The Mexican plastic arts are inspiring, flexible and provocative.

We also were treated to an exhibit of handmade, one-of-a-kind books.  This timely exhibit seemed to materialize for us specifically.  We are in the process of producing recycled paper/hand made books in our home town of Ajijic.

Yunuen Corral Cervantes
"El Grito de la Injusticia"

Ceramica de Capula


Callejon, 11 Patios

Papel Picado

Santos Daniel Carrillo Jimenez
San Andres de Cahamiata, Municipio de Mesquites

Another favorite source of folkart is that of the Huichol people.  They hail from the sierras of Jalisco. We were fortunate to find a true master of bead, wood and string art in Santos Daniel Carrillo Jimenez in Patzcuarro this year.

Ironic that I feel most truly alive whilst experiencing this festival for the dead.  Perhaps this is the I hope will be repeated over and over again.

1 comment:

  1. So great to see you and Brad in such a fantastic environment! This time of year always makes me think most strongly of you.