Las plañideras, the trade of mourning the dead of others that still survives in Mexican culture

Querétaro, Qro.- One of the trades most popular among women in the middle of Last century consisted of renting to go to cry to him to the deadpeople who may or may not know or may or may not have a family, but by whom mourner she cried inconsolably as if it were someone close to her.

Although its origin data many centuries before, in the ancient Egyptin Mexico the mourners had their greatest boom in the years later to Revolution Mexican, especially in the downtown area of the country, in the states of Michoacán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Mexico City and the State of Mexico.

Particularly in San Juan del Río It was requested among the landowners, people of a high economic position, who resorted to the services of these women for that you they will cry to their dead and give them a better goodbye.

“The wealthy people brought this type of people to mourn the dead, they were given a description of who the person was, many times they already knew the landowner or the landowner’s family and they began to do these dynamics of mourning him, through crying It was an honor, it was to highlight the character, what he was in his life, both good and bad, “he says. Francisco Landeros LaysecaSecretary of Economic, Business and Tourism Development of San Juan del Rio.

However, they were also hired for accompany To them Deceased that they were not well loved by their family or that they had died alone and they had no one to cry for them, hence these women, in addition to crying they spoke about the benefits that the deceased could have had in life, thus seeking the sympathy of those who attended the funeral.

“They were some people who, incognito, they came sobbing dressed in a black veil, in mourning and began to cry and talk about kindnesses that perhaps the deceased did not have, the point here was to make those who came feel a feeling of kindness towards the deceased they were watching over, so that they could feel sorry for it and then be able to have a good burial”, explains the municipal chronicler, Neftalí Sáenz Bárcenas.

A COMIC TWIST

Today, more than half a century later, the municipality of San Juan del Río seeks to keep alive one of the traditions plus bizarre of Mexican culture, through the Contest National of Mournerswhich has been carried out for 16 consecutive years, the only one in the country that is carried out within the framework of the Day of the Dead Festivalwhere this character is taken up again to remind people that this profession existed, although now it has lost its seriousness and has become something more comical.

“One year was serious, but I think it was not as successful because what people are looking for is to have fun, they are looking for a pleasant time with their family, with the children, not going to feel more pain than sometimes you already carry, so it’s funny now,” he recalls. Carla Alvarado.

carlaalong with his mother, Ana Patriciathey have participated in the contest for 10 yearsa period in which they have been crowned champions on multiple occasions for their facility for crying and improvisation, an interest for which even the youngest of the family, daughter of Karla and granddaughter of Doña Patricia, that’s it looking to dabble.

Although Karla prefers to arrive at the contest without prior preparation, since the only thing she prepares is her wardrobe, because she prefers to simply improvise on the spot; For her mother, Ana Patricia, yes, there are several days that she spends with nervousness when she thinks that the contest is approaching, nerves that she, she assures, dissipate once she steps on the stage.

“Already from a week before, when the calls start or a few days before, already this with the nerves, the contest, the stage, the public, everything makes me nervous. Although I love it, the nerve does not leave me, I always bring it and I always get nervous because you do not know which character is going to play you, ”he tells EFE.

And it is that for the contestants it is a mystery to which character, normally famous, they will have to dedicate their tears, it can be someone alive or someone dead, but they have to show their ability to improvise and put together a story around the deceased.

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The 2020 and 2021 editions had to be held virtually due to the pandemic, which was widely accepted by participants from other parts of the country and even from abroad, so for this year’s edition it remained hybrid, so that this Saturday the 29th it was possible to enjoy the face-to-face contest in the Plaza Independencia in San Juan del Río.

In the case of virtual participants, their videos will be analyzed by the judges, since so far there are already participants from the United States and even from Costa Rica and Guatemala.

EFE Agency

Source: Debate

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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