The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, began on Saturday the three days of mourning for the more than 91,000 deaths from COVID-19 by lighting candles in an indigenous offering mounted in one of the courtyards of the National Palace.
Without an audience, with tapestries of sawdust and marigolds —the traditional orange or yellow flower of the Day of the Dead in Mexico—, the motto “A flower for each soul” written on the ground and the scent of copal, López Obrador and his wife, the academic Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, participated in two indigenous ceremonies, one of the Yaqui people, originally from the northern part of the country, and the other of the Mazatecs, in the south.
“Starting today, three days of national mourning will begin dedicated to remembering all our deceased and especially those who have lost their lives due to the pandemic,” said the president before visiting 20 altars of the dead, one for each town original, also mounted inside the presidential headquarters.
The Mexicans thus began their traditional celebration in an atypical way, in the midst of an epidemic that has infected almost a million people since March and that has caused most of the pantheons to be closed and all kinds of popular celebrations in public places have been canceled. .
Most of the pantheons will remain closed these days although on Saturday some could still receive visits, such as the one in Valle de Chalco, on the outskirts of Mexico City.
Offering tribute to victims of the pandemic, from the National Palace. https://t.co/t8EXeTZIfU
– Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) October 31, 2020
“I never thought it would be empty, without music, without street markets, without vendors … very different,” lamented Juan Rivera, 49, and the manager of the cemetery of that town, an arid esplanade with simple burials. “It looks strange, sad.”
Many Mexicans, for whom this celebration is one of the most important of the year, chose to fix the graves of their loved ones and visit cemeteries the days before and therefore, despite COVID-19, there were no lack of flowers and ornaments in the most of them.
However, the bulk of the celebrations were more intimate and in Mexico City, where other years public offerings invaded the city, the pandemic left the altars reduced to a minimum and with less public visiting them, such as one dedicated to the victims of femicide and built in the center of the capital, in which the traditional pink crosses representing the murdered women were raised among marigold flowers next to a map of Mexico painted on the ground.