Oaxaca Day of the Dead Day Tour: Dia de los Muertos in Mitla, November 1, 2023

Our path along the Pan-America Highway leads us to some of the most iconic villages in Oaxaca. The artisans we visit in San Pablo Villa de Mitla not only talk about and demonstrate their craft, they will discuss their personal experiences and traditions growing up and honoring their ancestors during Day of the Dead. When you participate with us, you will go deep into a rich Zapotec history and culture that pre-dates the Spanish conquest of Oaxaca in 1522 and the settlement of Oaxaca as a colonial capitol.

We pick you up at 9:00 a.m. at a central location in the Historic District of Oaxaca city and return you there by 6:00 p.m. We will let you know the location two-weeks before the tour.

Our first stop is to Santa Maria del Tule where we will see the massive, 2,000 year old cypress tree known as the Arbol de Tule, considered to be the oldest in the Americas. The mother tree has given birth to numerous nearby offspring and this is a sight to behold.

In San Pablo Villa de Mitla we meet Don Arturo at the Panteon Mitla, the cemetery where his family is buried. We will accompany him to the tomb, participate in honoring his family, and observe how other families memorialize their loved ones. We then return to Arturo’s weaving studio where he explains the traditional altar, the history and cultural significance of the celebration.

Arturo is a famous weaver who works on the traditional back strap loom with wool. This loom is primarily used by men here because it is wider and heavier than the looms used by women to weave cotton fabric. He is also a master at creating natural dye recipes, and uses the flying shuttle loom, an industrial revolution innovation of the mid-1800’s designed to make large scale lengths of cloth for tables, bedspreads, and curtains. His workmanship is so outstanding, he has been invited to participate in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market repeatedly. We will have a traditional Day of the Dead lunch, including homemade Mole Oaxaqueño on the patio of his home studio, prepared by his wife who is an excellent cook!

Don Arturo has a traditional altar. He uses only pre-Hispanic fruits and vegetables to decorate, and the mural behind his altar, featuring the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, is a sight to behold. This is a time for reflection and understanding of pre-Hispanic traditions blended with Spanish Catholicism that is known as syncretism.

Our final stop is to the home of antique dealer Epifanio who has an amazing presentation of traditional pre-Hispanic decorations. You will have a chance to discover many hidden antiques at reasonable prices –off-the-beaten path. We return you to the city by 6:00 p.m.

Registration

Tour cost is $148 per person. This includes transportation in a luxury van, bilingual guide services with translation, cemetery visit and a traditional Dia de los Muertos lunch. A $40 non-refundable deposit per person will reserve your space.

Final payment is due in cash (either dollars or equivalent pesos) on the day of the tour.

Deposits can be made with a Zelle transfer (no service fee), or with Venmo or PayPal (with a 3% service fee). Please tell us by email which payment method you prefer along with your intent to participate, how many people will be in your party, and we will send you a request for funds. Thank you.

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