MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s beloved grande dame of death, a stylishly attired skeleton named La Catrina, her grinning skull topped with trademark hat, has company in the market stands here: Hollywood extraterrestrials, Batman and other superheroes, along with sundry witches and monsters.
“Ratas baratas! Diez pesos!” announces a vendor holding a bundle of plastic rodents by their long tails, each selling for 10 pesos, or just over 50 U.S. cents. “Cheap rats!”
So it is with Halloween, a tradition born in Europe and transported here from the United States, and Day of the Dead, a Mexican remembrance of the deceased with pre-Hispanic origins.
The two holidays — Halloween on Oct. 31 and Day of the Dead two days later — have fused here into a multi-day, sometimes surreal celebration and a bonanza for pinata and mask makers, costume fabricators and bakers specializing in sugary offerings for the departed. At the sprawling Sonora Market here, the final shopping days are frantic.
On Saturday, Mexico City held its first Day of the Dead parade, a runaway success that saw the route through downtown jammed with more 250,000 people, many in full Halloween mode, decked out in skeleton regalia, their faces painted like skulls.
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