Check out this colorful graveyard we stumbled upon almost immediately after getting into New Mexico. This place was unlike any of the graveyards we’re used to (SHOUT OUT TO COLMA, CALIFORNIA! WHAT WHAT!).
Back in New Mexico’s colonial period, Catholics were buried in fenced-in yards outside of their churches. When the churches ran out of room, burial sites formed in open areas just outside of town. This means some graveyards are seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There’s no elaborate ironwork entrances, no guest books, no directories and no manicured lawns marking the pathways.
But these grave sites aren’t just desert stretches that are easy to miss or pass by. That’s because almost every single one of the sites is decorated with love and (sometimes humorous!) consideration by loved ones left behind.
Much like shrines associated with Mexico's Dia De Los Muertos, these burial grounds, or Campo Santos, focus much more on showing the vibrance of life than accommodating the logistics of death. Photos, trinkets and party decorations embellish each grave.
Fresh flowers are swapped for plastics ones, providing a year-round spectrum of color that radiates against the sun-baked desert ground.