tatakeres

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Dia de los muertos/Day of the dead, Michoacan, Mexico.

The ritual of the vigil of the souls, commonly called Day of the Dead, which takes place on the 1rst and 2nd of November is one of the most popular traditions of Mexico, for its visual beauty and its mystical character. In the region of Lake of Patzcuaro, this ritual is called in Purepecha language"Animeecheri K´uinchekua", which means “Feast of the souls”. The feast of the souls is a ritual ceremony where each activity plays an important symbolic role, the elaboration of the altars, the use of certain flowers, objects, food…etc. Each community according to its own custom, determines the specific ways and time to celebrate the arrival of the souls. In some villages the returning souls are expected at night, in others during daytime. In a few villages, a large arch is elaborated all night long, between the 1rst and 2nd of November, by a group of young men, called the Tatakeres. At sunrise, numerous members of the community will come help them raise, inch after inch, the heavy arch covered by cempasúchil flowers (marigold) and other natural elements. The arch, connecting earth and sky, will help guide the souls of those who are deceased but return one day a year to live with their family. 

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune