Day of the Dead 2013 Begins in Oaxaca

Visitors and local revelers fill the streets.  Hotels are booked months ahead.  The pre-Hispanic traditions of Day of the Dead — Dia de los Muertos — in Oaxaca are becoming blended once again as people gather for this amazing celebration of life.

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The Spanish combined ancient indigenous practice with Catholic All Saints Day. Now, as migrants return home to Mexico from the United States, the Halloween celebration and symbols from El Norte cross the border going south, and change happens.

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On Sunday, families and young lovers gathered on the Zocalo to play with balloons, eat cotton candy or crunchy glazed red candy apples.

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In late afternoon, we stumbled upon preparations for a mass in honor of the Virgin of the Rosary — Virgen del Rosario — at the famous gilded Santo Domingo Church, complete with village representatives adorned in indigenous dress participating, followed by a glorious fireworks spectacle which we saw from the rooftop terrace at Casa Oaxaca over dinner and mezcalinis.

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On Monday, the comparsa — or children’s parade — assembled on the plaza at Santo Domingo before marching down the Alcala.  

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Street vendors, moms and dads with costumed children, often costumed themselves, and tourists with cameras mulled around.  The band played and Santo Domingo was aglow in the light of late afternoon.  

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Two make-up artists were on hand to decorate the faces of toddlers, youngsters, teens and adults.  The kids sat patiently while large hands tickled their faces with colored pencils, lipstick and lots of powder.

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The walking street that connects Santo Domingo with the Zocalo was a crowd scene.  Fun, colorful, and sometimes I got the impression that the parents wanted to be there more than the children did!  A universal circumstance.

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Of course, food is a highlight here, as is cempasuchitl.  Love the food at Cafe San Pablo.  Well prepared and reasonably priced.  Shall we say goodnight now?

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