Progreso Cemetario

Today, I took Evan on a little adventure to see the cemetery in Progreso before the ‘Dias de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) which is holiday in Mexico focusing on family and friends gathering to pray and remember their loved ones. This is a two day holiday in Mexico celebrated on November 1 & 2. The origins of this holiday can trace back to the indigenous cultures and have been observed for as long as 2,500 – 3,000 years. In Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants (Dia de los Inocentes) whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2 (Dia de los Muertos).

In the Yucatan, this holiday is known as Hanal Pixan and there are many special dishes which will be prepared for everyone to enjoy. We got our first ‘pan de muerto’, or bread of the dead, today at a school halloween party and we will be trying it tonight. This is a special egg-batter bread. Another item we will be trying soon will be the ‘mucbilpollo’ or Yucatecan chicken pot pie.

We are not quite sure what to expect as this will be our first year observing this traditional holiday. I thought it would be important to see a cemetery before going on the actual holiday because we want to see what the transformation will be like. The cemetery was certainly not like any I have ever seen in Canada but that just makes it different, not bad. The cemetery at first glance appears to be similar to the streets of many Mexican towns and cities. There are some beautiful head stones, and some very basic head stones.

I am not sure my words can do this excursion justice. Some of the monuments are breathtaking, and some are not. There are candles burning on some grave stones. We did not know what to expect and were certainly surprised when we peeked in one ‘crypt’ and saw the skull and bones of a person lying there. Evan had to go back to peek at the bones a second time. There are some ‘paths’ between the rows of graves, and some paths which just end in the middle, you have to be careful of where you are stepping to avoid holes in the ground. I have never seen an above ground grave site before and it was certainly a different experience.

We are looking forward to going to the festivities on the 1st and 2nd of November to see the celebration of life. This is a time of year where families are cleaning up the grave sites, decorating it with flowers and may set out and enjoy a picnic with while visiting. There are events in Merida which we will try to get to see on Saturday in preparation for the big days. See Yucatan Today for details.

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One Response to “Progreso Cemetario”

  1. Mike Hughes says:

    I have a relative buried in the “Cemetery General, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico” 19 FEB 1969. His name is James Perley Hughes and he had a wife by the name of Berta Solis Hughes. Their address was Calle 21 No. 147-A Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico. He was 86 years old at the time of death and was originally from Minnesota and his last residence was Bay County, Florida. There he has a gravestone with a previous wife’s birth and death date on it. His name and birth date is on the headstone, but no death date.

    How would I go about finding his burial plot, headstone, if it’s still there and an obituary. I had a researcher check Bay County, Florida Obituaries and he is nowhere to be found. I have attached his death certificate from for US Citizens who died outside the country to help aid in this query.

    Your suggestions and help is greatly appreciated.

    Mike Hughes

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