Mystery of Muertos in Oaxaca, Mexico

Procession, Dia de los Muertos

Procession, Dia de los Muertos

You may have noticed that I changed the blog banner to a night-time Oaxaca, Mexico, Day of the Dead cemetery scene. Rituals are ancient, family-centered and mystical. Dia de los Muertos will start at the end of October and continue through November 3 this year.  In Teotitlan del Valle, the traditional November 2 cemetery ritual moves to Monday, November 3, because November 2 falls on Sunday.

Teotitlan del Valle, Dia de los Muertos

Teotitlan del Valle, Dia de los Muertos

September brings rain. It has always been this way. (The ancients did not worry about global warming.) The circle of life is complete and comes around once again. The rains bring the October profusion of wild marigold blooming throughout the countryside, coming just in time as Mother Earth’s gift to decorate altars and grave sites to honor deceased loved ones.

Copal incense burners

Copal incense burners

Muertos is coming. The season is changing. This week, the night air turned chilly and I wrap myself in a handwoven wool rebozo.  Hot chamomile tea is on the stove. The corn has tassled and is ready to harvest.  There is a full moon and the evening sky sparkles. Days are still warm, but the afternoon winds bring with them a whisper of winter.

Xoxocotlan Ancient Cemetery

Xoxocotlan Ancient Cemetery

In the next few weeks, our Oaxaca snowbirds will return. Visitors will arrive to experience the wonder and mystery of Muertos, and bring with them much needed tourism dollars that artisans depend upon.

Pan de Muertos, Bread of the Dead

Pan de Muertos, Bread of the Dead

In the central valley of Oaxaca, we will light copal incense, gather marigold flowers, decorate homes and reflect on the meaning of life and death, memory and relationships. The scent of the copal and marigolds help guide the dead from and back to their graves.

Sueño de Elpis-Muertos Marigold Art Installation

Sueño de Elpis-Muertos Marigold Art Installation

Portrait Photography Workshop Starts at the end of January. Taking Registrations!

 

 

 

8 Responses to Mystery of Muertos in Oaxaca, Mexico

  1. Thanks for your quick response. Chris also assured me that really all is well and I am looking forward to DOD. We have been many times and we spend Oct 31 in Atzompa with the Blanco family. We met Theodora back in the 70’s and maintain contact with her family.
    We hope tp be in Teotitla on Nov 3. I love the church bells ringing and the groups of families walking the streets heading to other houses to celebrate the holiday. Maybe we will see you and your tour group walking around
    Can hardly wait
    Bev in Connecticut

  2. Norma
    I have been reading “Oaxaca the year after” blog and getting a little nervous about coming to Oaxaca for DOD. Protesters,blockades,zocalo restaurants closed. Abuela’s closed!! too sad!
    Am i being overly nervous.
    Our Spanish is not good and I don’t want to spend 2 weeks trying to navigate blockades to get to all the wonderful activities in the surrounding towns.
    Troubled times everywhere
    Bev in Connecticut

    • Beverly, I am sorry that “Oaxaca the year after” blog is focusing on Oaxaca blockades and protests. Yes, the zocalo is not a pretty place right now. However, the encampment of protesters is localized and effects a few square blocks. It does not limit visitors to enjoy the major part of the city and the surrounding villages. There are many fine restaurants here that continue to operate at full capacity. We are in no danger. It is an inconvenience to be slowed or detoured around a blockade but life goes on here as usual. Taxi drivers and guides know how to navigate the roads out to the village and the blockades are usually announced in advance so people are prepared. Please don’t be dismayed and cancel your visit. It is a wonderful place with many great and welcoming people, and astounding artisan treasures. Let me know when you arrive. Best, Norma

  3. Your photos are stunning!!
    The yellow chair, the incense burners, and the cemetery scene are some of the nicest I’ve seen. The colors are wonderful. Do you sell your photos?
    Rituals are so important to our lives… we all should try to make sure they are continued from gen to gen in our own “electronic” culture.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Elaine S

  4. Hi Norma,
    I love your posts and beautiful photos!
    Quick question…you mentioned the best hospital in Oaxaca several months ago, can you tell me again. I am coming to Oaxaca for Muertos and would like to be prepared since I have a heart condition.
    Thanks
    Colleen

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