Only four more days until the official start of Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca, Mexico. Everyone is lining up their calendars to watch comparsas, visit cemeteries and participate as locals honor the return to earth of their loved ones and then escort them back to their graves with the scent of copal and flowers.
2014 Cemetery Visiting Schedule
- Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan. Most people arrive at 7:30 p.m. or later and stay well past midnight.
- Santa Maria Atzompa. The Oaxaca Lending Library includes this cemetery visit as part of an October 31 cemetery crawl.
- Oaxaca City Cemetery (Panteon)
- Barrio Xochimilco
- San Augustin Etla
- San Pablo Villa de Mitla, begins mid-day
Usually, the Teotitlan del Valle Day of the Dead All Souls’ Day observances are held on November 2. But, this year the date falls on Sunday, so the village has moved observances to Monday.
I’ve written extensively about the history and customs for Day of the Dead. You can use the search engine on the blog to find more about how to decorate an altar, the meaning and symbolism of the observance and relationship to pre-Hispanic rituals.
I’ve also seen tour groups come into small town cemeteries where people sit quietly in reflection at gravesites.. They step into plots and between people, point cameras in their faces and set their strobe flashes to get a good shot. Then, they climb back on the van or bus and leave to go on to the next stop on the tour.
Please be mindful that we are all visitors here and it is our responsibility to walk quietly and with respect.
There is lots to do in the city. Don’t forget to hang out on Macedonio Alcala to catch the comparsas. The sand sculptures will be in the Plaza de la Danza. Peek into courtyards and hotel lobbies to see all the fanciful decorations. Enjoy yourself. We are happy you are here!
- Art Huipil Workshop, January 8-14, 2015
- Felt Fashion Workshop with Pre-Hispanic Flair, January 17-24, 2015
- Portrait Photography Workshop, January 30-February 6, 2015
For activities, check Margie Barclay’s Oaxaca Calendar, too!