It was a day of heat and humidity, the clouds were high in a blue sky which they were slowly overcasting: a thunderstorm was approaching. Then, on the way to Merida, in the Mexican State of Yucatan, I met Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior.
I was looking for a shady spot to rest, and two benches in front of a cemetery fenced with light mauve painted walls seemed a nice idea. But there were people on the other side of the wall: there they were. Leaning on a light mint green wall that felt cool to the touch, chatting, considering what to do and about the unusual surroundings, they invited me to join the conversation.
A cemetery, undoubtedly, but neither a tear nor a veil of sadness emanates from the hand painted angels or from the poor christs in cages. How could it be, perhaps it’s due to the turquoise that mingles with the horizon or the innate happiness of the people from the Caribbean Sea?
The Three told me about a special day, el dia de los muertos, when all the family, and I also mean the ones who come back from nobody knows where and on this day only, meet to have a riotous time amidst crosses, pinnacles and domes.
The ones that remained bring hand embroidered table cloths, candles to light up at night time, the preferred meals of those who left and kids who play soccer and run around the little temples that remind me of Legos. The ones who left wait until sunset to come back, if they’ve mistaken the address and end up at home they won’t find anyone waiting for them but the dog and a cold soup, but if they make it here … here is the party. The ones that remained drink and stuff themselves with food, laugh at the stories and the tales and pray for grace, sing and dance until morning.
Now you know why this not an ordinary cemetery, but a cementerio mexicano, a place where memory brightens up.