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Day of the Dead parade pays tribute to earthquake victims

By Anandita Mehta
Staff Writer

Girl celebrating for Mexican Day of the Dead (envato elements).

Mexico City hosted its second annual Day of the Dead Parade along a four-mile stretch of the Paseo de la Reforma on Saturday, Oct. 28, Deutsche Welle reported.

The parade attracted 300,000 people, 100,000 more than last year, according to The New York Times.

The parade included traditional Day of the Dead festivities, as well as a tribute to the victims of September earthquakes, Reuters reported.

The parade coordinator, Julio Blasina, expressed an obligation to honor the victims while also making a show of resilience, according to The Independent. That obligation was especially important for the survivors of Mexico City, where 228 of the 500 earthquake victims died.

“There are many people hurt by what happened and they are going to celebrate with more pleasure,” said one of the parade’s attendants, Eduardo Rivera, according to AFP.

Another parade attendant expressed an alternate view.

“We should continue to mourn a bit more than anything because of what happened,” said another parade attendant, Juan Diego Hernandez, according to AFP.

The central element of the tribute to the earthquake victims was the parade float of a fist made of hard hats and pickaxes, The New York Times reported.

Rescue workers followed behind the float with their fists held up in the air above their heads, the same source reported.

Responders would raise their fist to call for silence to better hear people buried under the rubble, according to The Independent.

In addition to the tribute at the parade, Mexico City’s central plaza, Zocalo Plaza, was arrayed with candle shrines, paper mache skulls and La Catrina figures in an homage to both the victims and the rescuers, ABC reported.

La Catrina is an iconic Mexican skeleton figure dating back from the 19th century. People painted their face in the La Catrina-style and wore 19th century clothing, which is iconic of the holiday, Reuters explained.

The inspiration of the parade stemmed from the opening scene of the 2015 James Bond film “Spectre,” according to Deutsche Welle.

The James Bond film repopularized the Day of the Dead after years of favoring more American Halloween trick-or-treating festivities, The New York Times reported. The film brought back the traditional pre-Hispanic Day of the Dead celebrations in quiet cemeteries, where families would spend time with the deceased.

Although the parade was sponsored by the Tourism and Culture Ministries, the celebration was not all about the Hollywood stamp of approval or tourism, according to Reuters.

The parade’s organizers want to be clear that the parade was not simply meant to be a Hollywood movie scene reenactment, Deutsche Welle reported. It was meant to be a celebration of life just as much as a tribute to the dead.

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