Terlingua is an obscure little ghost town out in West Texas, the glory and riches from back in the day when it was a Cinnabar mining town long gone and faded. Today, it is a pocket-sized magnet for creatives, artists, eccentrics and some retirees. But, Day of the Dead celebrations bring this small, tight knit community to the local cemetery in full swing. This day is not one of mourning, in fact far from it. It is a day of paying respect, sharing and feeding each other. Children are introduced to family members who have departed and each of the four hundred graves in the cemetery are lit with candles late into the night. The rugged Texas desert and the bright starlit sky provide quite the backdrop. Uncanny costumes, painted faces and body art are integral to this day, along with music, a campfire, food and beverages. But above all is a purposeful sense of reflection and remembrance for those that have left and their spiritual journey after life.
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© Ayash Basu. Local artists and musicians gather at “The Porch” of the Terlingua Trading Post, a social hub in the afternoon as people mingle over beers and get into the spirit for the evening.
© Ayash Basu. The local community and visitors gather at the cemetery to pray for the spiritual journey of the departed over a potluck. A massive campfire starts at sundown and everybody sings over drinks and food late into the night.
© Ayash Basu. One of the early visitors to the cemetery, other than the organizing family are the King and Queen (some call them Bride and Groom).
© Ayash Basu. Women adorned in red roses is a common sight. Red roses signify memories of the lost that will not be eroded by death.
© Ayash Basu. Grace, a young woman from the area dons the role of Queen in 2016.
© Ayash Basu. Randy McLaughlin – the “King” for the last many years ponders sitting next to the fire as the candles are lit by 400 plus graves.
© Ayash Basu. The candles light the graves late into the night, much after people have left. Even after the candles burn off, millions of stars radiate upon the graves – pretty symbolic.