Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca
You should be here!!!! In Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead celebration. Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday that some mistake as half Halloween and half Mardi Gras, has deep spiritual roots going back at least 3,000 years, to the Aztecs and beyond. The frankness about death in a festival that combines feasting and dancing with graveyard vigils jolted me before I understood the point — remembering and celebrating loved ones. It actually provides solace and a way to celebrate the memories and lives of loved ones. I recommend it for anyone who has ever lost someone, which is to say everyone.
It’s been going on for days….all the families building altars to their beloved dead relatives in front of their homes or in their courtyards. Some create intricate sand paintings on the sidewalks and streets that take days to design and assemble. Everyone makes traditional foods such as sweet bread, tamales wrapped in banana leaves and the special favorites of the deceased go onto the altar along with their photos. Tonight is a very special night. The families carry favorite foods out to the cemeteries, light candles on the graves and celebrate the lives of the their departed. More to come after that lively and late night event!!
The markets and roadsides are filled with people selling marigolds and cockscomb. These are the most important flowers for people’s altars, called ofrendas. The orange flowers are everywhere and probably the basis for the orange theme of Halloween.
The REAL celebrations begin tonite!! More photos and details after the cemetery visits and feasting events on 1 & 2 November.