Most of you will know by now that I took part in the Thrill The World Ajijic dance on October 24th to help raise much needed funds for Cruz Roja (Red Cross), our local First Responders who man the local ambulances and provide emergency First Aid treatment to our community. So far we've raised over 20,000 US Dollars which is about £15,000 in UK terms. Brilliant result and many, many thanks to all those who sponsored me!
Practice started for this event in mid September giving us 5 weeks or 10 practice sessions to get all the moves right. It was a challenge - especially for Elliott and Val, our tutors. These girls are saints for teaching 50 people who've never danced before how to do a reasonable Zombie dance! It was hot, hard work for all involved and then Hurricane Patricia threatened all Elliot's plans for a big outdoor performance in Ajijic plaza which was to be followed by a motor parade through town to Six Corners where we planned to dance again for the local community. Elliott made frantic back up plans but the day dawned and Hurricane Patricia had bypassed us - we only had one day of torrential rain the day before the event.
The day passed in a blur - final rehearsals, zombie make up, decorating trucks for the parade and finally "Show Time". Then just as we were all lying down playing dead in the plaza, the rain started again! It didn't dampen our spirits through and kept us cool while we performed to a huge crowd. Nor did it rain on our parade and we managed to stay dry for the next hour or so until we returned to the plaza for an open air meal and Zombie Prom - then boy, did it come down! We partied on for a couple of hours but by then we were very Soggy Zombies and decided to head for home. What a blast though! Here's the YouTube link to the full dance -
The final fancy dress outing was on Day of the Dead which is a huge event here in Mexico. The local cemetery is heaving with people all day long. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to remember and pray for the dead and help support their spirtual journey. Plans for the day are made throughout the year including gathering goods to be offered to the dead. Most families prepare special altars (ofrendas) in their homes complete with photos of the deceased family members, flowers, candles and mounds of food, soda and water for the weary spirits. During the 3 day period, families usually clean and decorate the graves, often with orange Mexican marigolds and by the afternoon of November 2nd, the parties have all moved to the graveside. People believe that the gates of heaven open up on October 31st and the spirits of all the dead children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. on November 2nd, the adult spirits come down and enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.
When I went to the cemetery, Mariachi bands were playing, barbeques were fired up graveside and children were having fun. The evening ended with a parade to Ajijic plaza where the party continued with music, dancing and of course more eating and drinking. A real eyeopener into the Mexican way of dealing with death!