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Another lure is the distinctive fragance of the marigold, the traditional Day of the Dead flower still known by its Nahuatl moniker, cempazuchitl *.
Over through the mercado, where the aisles were lined with magnificent displays of cempazuchitl, pato de leones (which I was told was the local patois for giant cockscomb) and orchids by the gazillion.
Some people visit their loved one's gravesite (me and my family skip this part) or build an altar displaying cempazuchitl flowers (yellow marigolds, believed to represent death), papel picado (folk art of colorful paper-cutting), sugar skulls and skeletons (there to poke a little fun at death), along with items specific to the loved one who passed away: Favorite foods, personal things, and even some tequila are traditionally placed on the altar to entice them to come back and celebrate close to the living on this one special day.
Previous to 2002, the glorious mounds of cempazuchitl (marigolds) and maroon-colored mota de obispo (cock’s comb) were sold on the northeast corner of the main plaza.
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