At the Pasaje de la Revolucion off Mérida’s Plaza Grande, Day of the Dead has not forgotten those beloved pets that have moved on to the next life.
The installation comprises several large figures of dogs, cats, birds, and other animals.
Though some figures honoring deceased pets are essentially large sculptures, others are molded from carefully trimmed plants and adorned with paper-mâché.
Some of the representations of these animals also take on a surreal look, reminiscent of México’s tradition of magical realism.
The entire installation is framed by arches featuring thousands of Mexican marigolds, as well as several other species of endemic plants and flowers.
Cempasúchils, meaning “20 petals” in the Nahuatl language, were believed to be necessary for spirits to visit the realm of the living by following a path of petals. For this reason, the bright orange flowers can be found on altars during Día de Los Muertos across Mexico.
As is the tradition, an altar with the things dear to the departed was placed on an altar so that one night a year, one’s loved ones may return to enjoy them. As this specific altar is dedicated to pets, it is full of treats and toys to play with.
In Yucatán, especially in Mérida, it is not unusual to see photos of pets at cemeteries. But it is also not uncommon to see animals, especially dogs, linger around specific grave sites as if they were to continue to guard their friends.