For this Oaxacan merchant, marigolds mean more than ever this Día de Muertos.
On this night of days in honor of the dead, which can be a time of sadness and loss, or celebration and good fortune, Marigold has been the symbol of Oaxaca’s cultural calendar since 1994.
Since it began, Marigold has been a festival of light and beauty.
In 2018, as the city faces an impending storm of extreme weather, the festival will continue on. And Marigold is still on the agenda.
Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Mexico each November, although its exact origins are unknown. What is known is the practice of commemorating the dead in various ways, from flowers to skulls to masks. (See sidebar for more on how the mask is an icon of the festival.)
But as this Oaxacan man knows, marigold is far more than a simple decoration.
“In Oaxaca, we have very complex meanings,” he said. “But we put marigolds on everything. On homes. On houses. When someone dies, we give their body to the person that would take care of it.”
These days, in Oaxaca, the flower’s cultural cache has expanded to encompass anything that is new or different.
In the case of a new restaurant, for example:
“We put marigolds in there,” he said.
In the case of a new car:
“We’ll put these in every possible way.”
In the case of a new dress:
“We put marigolds in every possible way. We’ve even been known to put them on the outside of our house.”
In the case of a new haircut, he said:
“We’ll put marigolds on our hair.”
But for Oax