Cempasúchil paths lead to Mictlán, a parallel universe where a planter in the Alameda is a cemetery and the devils, catrinas, and calacas look out from the balconies of the Andador Turístico of the Green Antequera.
It is the celebration par excellence in Oaxaca, the one that summons to get lost in the aroma of incense and cockscomb, to get lost in the mist of a cup of chocolate, to get lost in the taste of pan de muerto and mole estrellado with sesame seeds.
The portal of coexistence between the living and the dead was left open; together they descend hand in hand on the Calzada de los Muertos from where a sky dotted with flowers dancing in the wind can be seen.
Calacas with slanted eyes and blond hair join the celebration, those who came from China or the United States, who vanish among the daily comings and goings of the merchants who offer their handicrafts, typical sweets, or fresh water.
By day they look hot under the makeup and the crown of flowers that simulates sugar skulls. Tied to a leash a little Xoloixcuintle dog with bones painted on its body is the amusement of the children who run around enjoying the festivity.
The city is a multicolored party wrapped in paper that flutters to the beat of the songs that evoke the festivities of the dead. The notes of Dios Nunca Muere echo at noon behind the radio horn. The atmosphere becomes solemn and ceremonious to remember that, although everything dies, there remains a consolation.
The road to this precinct is believed to be long and dangerous. With nine vertical and descending levels, it was traveled by nobles and commoners alike.
For tourists arriving for the first time in Oaxaca, the amazement is noticeable from afar. The eyes go from one side to the other admiring every detail and every trace of the Oaxacan tradition.
The cemeteries are also decorated. Xochimilco for the second consecutive year is the main host for the damage that is still evident in the General or San Miguel Cemetery.
Dead flowers hang from the trees like yellow curtains that paint a dazzling landscape. The inhabitants of the old neighborhood enjoy their festivities, they let themselves be carried away by the tradition that invites them to dress up, dance, and recite literary skulls.
As the sun goes down, more and more people join the festivities. The streets are lit at half-light to enter the game of shadows that evokes the Mictlán, the fascinating Mexican underworld.
It was believed that the journey lasted four years and that, upon arriving at Mictlan after overcoming all obstacles, the soul of the deceased was received by Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, the deities of the underworld, who announced the end of his sorrows: "Your sorrows are over, go to sleep your mortal sleep".
Source: Oro Radio