Saturday, November 27, 2021

Mexicans return to Day of the Dead celebration with a vengeance

Most of the mass of spectators lining Paseo de la Reforma boulevard wore protective face masks as they watched colourful floats, bands and performers trundle down the street.

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Thousands of Mexicans crowded into the main avenue of Mexico City for a lively Day of the Dead parade on Sunday, relishing the chance to mark the festive tradition after the coronavirus pandemic cast a thick pall over it last year.

Most of the mass of spectators lining Paseo de la Reforma boulevard wore protective face masks as they watched colourful floats, bands and performers trundle down the street.

Others proudly sported bright depictions of calavera skulls on their faces to celebrate.

“I love coming to see this tradition we Mexicans can’t lose sight of,” said Leticia Galvan, a 67-year-old civil servant decked out in a skeleton suit and trilby, and with half of her face painted in the colors of a La Catrina skull.

“It’s us making light of death, celebrating death.”

Children sat atop their parents’ shoulders to catch sight of the procession of floats bearing dancers in indigenous attire and feathered headdresses, scaled-down reproductions of Mexico City landmarks and spectral figures.

Mexico has endured one of the highest death tolls worldwide from the Covid-19 pandemic, and last year the city authorities urged the public to stay at home, ordering cemeteries to close during festivities traditionally held on Nov 1-2.

But with nearly half the population now fully vaccinated against the virus, Mexico has in recent weeks significantly reduced daily infections, enabling the capital and most other regions of the country to lift restrictions on the public.

Many Mexicans still mask up when they go outdoors and some spectators kept their distance from the parade.

“I didn’t expect to see so many people,” said Rebeca Brito, a 22-year-old nurse, hanging back to avoid the crowds. “After all the time spent cooped up, they want to get out now.”

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