Inflation, like water, seeps in everywhere and the Day of the Dead will not be saved from its scythe . If funeral costs are already high, expenses ‘beyond’ death are also skyrocketing. Well, according to the National Alliance of Small Merchants (ANPEC) , the prices of gardening and maintenance in the pantheons rebounded after its reopening.
Not only the value of the ornamentation in the Day of the Dead offerings has risen as it has not done in decades. The rose in some cases up to 96%, according to the ANPEC. The prices to keep the graves of loved ones in decent conditions have also skyrocketed.
An open and costly wound
This year, finally, hundreds of municipal and private pantheons throughout the country will reopen their doors after two years of the pandemic. But they will do so in one of the most difficult contexts of recent decades.
“The million deaths that we lost due to covid-19 still weigh heavily. People did not see their people alive again. Many were unable to give them a Christian burial with the entire process of vigil, mourning and burial (…) for reasons of the pandemic. Now that these dates arrive (…) you remember those absences and neither poorer nor richer, less people bring some flowers, a candle and make a novena. It is part of a cultural issue ” , indicates Cuauhtemoc Rivera.
Rivera also comments that, culturally, it is not possible for Mexicans to stop celebrating these dates with the same fervor as always. Despite the fact that the prices of the maintenance fees in the pantheons rose 33.3% compared to the prices of 2019.
On average, these fees were 600 pesos per year in private cemeteries, but they rose to 800 pesos in 2021 and 2022. The cheapest options are in the municipal cemeteries, where the fees are variable; in the State of Mexico, for example, the fee is around 250 pesos per year.
In the case of people who pay for garden services in private cemeteries, spending has also risen. From costing 250 pesos in 2019, they went on to cost 500 pesos per service in 2022.
Opportunity for the informal market
Cuauhtémoc Rivera also indicated that there is an informal market to provide maintenance or gardening services, especially on the Day of the Dead. Where the workers of the cemeteries organize themselves to collect a fee, under the water, to fix the tombs at the moment they are visited.
This occurs, above all, in municipal pantheons where services could be deficient. In some cases, they even “constitute a mafia”, in the sense that they control the state of the cemeteries, to charge more on the busiest days.