Leaving at 10 pm and returning at 6 am on the Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead), we went to the cemeteries on the Lake Patzcuaro  Islands of Janitzio (popular but overcrowded with Mexican tourists, party town) and Pacanda (tranquil, traditional, moving) and to Tzintzuntzan (transformed with flowers and candles,surreal). There was a cold wind blowing – the spirits arriving?
The Purepecha (indigenous people of the Patzcuaro region) believe that death is not the end, but the beginning of the real life and on the night of November 1 the spirits of the dead, carried by the winds, return. They need help finding their way and must be made welcome with their favorite food and drink. The cemeteries are shrouded in marigolds and illuminated by thousands of candles. Descendants maintain an all night vigil at their family graves, waiting patiently.
The photos cannot describe the experience of wandering through candle lit cemeteries full of flowers with people quietly waiting for the spirits of their departed as they have for over 3000 years.