She reaches for the sky, high above the congested Mexico City streets. Holding up a laurel crown for the people who sacrificed for the Mexican Revolution. Her gold flickers in the afternoon sky—standing tall as a symbol of triumph, life, and hope for the Mexican people as her ascension into heaven is immortalized.
Below the Angel of Independence, the circular artery of the city is busy celebrating death. “Click clack, click clack,” a man shouts through his black-and-white skeletal makeup, gesticulating wildly like a spider. Catrinas twirl in the shadows of the angel, spinning like color wheels from the bright fabrics that comprise their dresses. Children dolled up like pumpkins and witches forage for sugar skulls and chocolates on the streets. Teenagers howl with excitement passing the street vendors nearly covered by piles of bright tropical produce. A drag queen sneakily sips Presidente beer, and she grabs fuego from a vendor to light a loosey cigarette she just bought. A puff of smoke covers her painted face replete with plastic Halloween-store bugs meticulously glued into place.
“This one is ours,” a dreadlocked punk girl says munching on cut mango with tajin peppered like ants on the fruit’s bright-orange flesh pointing to an alabrije. Here, on the Paseo de la Reform, among the crowd are hundreds of life-size paper-mache Lovecraftian “creatures”— each more fantastical than the next with vibrant colors that bring life to the sculptures and smiles to the passersby.
In the center of Mexico City, below an angel, are the people of this divine capital celebrating death by embracing life. It’s a parade of culture and traditions. Aztec stories swirl with Roman Catholic ideologies and turn-of-the-century artists’ imaginations are reimagined by modern-day artists who have all come together to create Mexico City’s first-ever Dia de Los Muertos parade.