Published: November 4th 2008November 4th 2008
or from the Mummy Museum to Dia de los Muertos.
Finally, to be spending a day off my aching feet! The Mummy Museum is on the opposite side of town, actually underneath the cemetery. So, to scope it out before the Muertos celebrations, we caught the bus, at the bottom of the hill. It was half empty, as is the city now that the Cervantino is over. It (the bus) groaned through the tiny streets and lurched up the hill atop of which the cemetery sits. The Mummy Museum contains the dried, leathery remains of about fifty folk, adults and children. Perhaps gruesome isn't the right word, but certainly the mind goes "tilt" after a while. Maybe part of the oddness of it all is that the text that accompanies each body is written in the first person, autobiographical tidbits from beyond the grave. Thus Dr. Remigio Leroy states;
"I saw the light again on June 9, 1856, when the alarmed gravediggers of Santa Paula Cemetery exhumed me from crypt #214 of the first series of cemetery.
I know very well that I am Dr. Remigio Leroy, a French doctor, and since I did not have any relatives in this city
that could claim my body, I was the first to be part of the collection of the Guanajuato Mummy Museum."
Each mummy has his/her own story, including babys... I won't go into detail.
Because the cemetery sits on mostly rock, there are only relatively small number of graves. However, to compensate for the lack of ground space the walls contain crypts, maybe eight high, in five different sections. Some are quite simple: a name and date scratched into cement. Others are elaborate altars of marble with vases and images. During the Day of the Dead celebrations, these turned into walls of flowers. Because some of the crypts are quite high, there are men who run around with ladders, yelling "Escaleras", who make the climb to place flowers, wreaths, candles, or repaint the lettering. Although not unlike other Muertos celebrations, if a bit more quiet, there are wreaths made here that I've never seen before. They are made of a stick frame, stuffed with grasses, then framed with the base of the leaves of what appear to be saw-toothed yucca. The effect is rather stunning, even if they do look like huge fake finger-nails. On the weekend, the usually near empty
bus was standing room only, unbelievably more people and flowers pushing on at each stop, making the ascent of the final hill almost impossible.
Ofrendas have popped up all over the city. Every school has at least one to a deceased teacher, and many to local artists and authors. Trick-or-Treaters can be seen at any time of day, and any day for that matter, mostly witches and vampires.
Happily, the weather forecasts, which have predicted clouds and rain, have been wrong. There are some wonderful art museums, including Diego Rivera's childhood home. And I must say, the people of Guanajuato are among the nicest I've ever met.
There are more photos below