What is Day of the Dead

Mexico: death is delicious in Oaxaca...

DThe Day of the Dead is one of the most important holidays in Mexico. In a country where food is an integral part of the culture, the dead are honored especially magnificently, especially in Oaxaca, where El Dia de los Muertos is also a day of great holidays.

When is the Day of the Dead celebrated?

October 30 state Oaxaca south pacific coast Mexico preparing for the upcoming holidays, like the whole country. Arguably one of the most important events of the year, the Day of the Dead is actually held over three days - October 31st to November 2nd - to celebrate, respectively, los angelitos (angels) todos los santos (all saints) and los muertos (dead).

Treat for the Day of the Dead
Image: Treat for the Day of the Dead

In Oaxaca, the capital of the Mexican state of the same name (the fifth largest state in the country), on indoor market of Benito Juarez there is a fine selection of sugar skulls displayed next to small, colorful tomb-shaped sweets. There are also bones, skeletons and decapitated bodies - costumes for children - everywhere you look. Families choose loaves of bread baked around saints whose heads are peeking out.

What does this holiday really mean?

This day belongs to the departed, who return briefly to visit their relatives, who remember them and still love them.

Night at the cemetery

Naturally, all this takes place in cemeteries, because while the dead return for a short time to the living, the living occupy the cemeteries. At dusk they sparkle and glow with candles; flowers, fruits, incense and all kinds of offerings adorn the tombs.

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico

In one of the lanes of the largest cemetery in Oaxaca, the Mayoral family warms up Negro small sauce bracero… Family members sit on an abandoned grave opposite the grave of their ancestors. Perhaps to compensate for the intrusion, the family's patriarch assures us that he looks after the abandoned tomb with the same care he takes for his family's burial site.

Violins, basses, guitars, xylophones… from background tunes to rhythm tunes, music is ubiquitous when family members eat, drink and even dance with children playing nearby. In these few days, death is familiar and good-natured.

Night city on the Day of the Dead

Outside the gates of the cemetery, the festival captured the whole city. Skeletons, imaginary animals and other creatures from the underworld adorn huge sand carpets, and students from the city's art schools display huge papier-mâché skulls on the streets.

Masks on the streets of the city

Vacationers throng the town, drinking fruit juice, nibbling on corn on the cob with cheese, devouring tomatillos with caramel and all sorts of very colorful cakes bought from small mobile stalls on the go. It seems that food doesn't just play a role in these holidays: it's the star.

“During el dia de los muertos, I always gain a few pounds, which I then need to lose,” says the native of Oaxaca.

The houses of the departed await visits to magnificent shrines, strewn with pomegranates, tangerines, bananas, lemons, goyaba de anta and small apples. Even those who have died of starvation are invited to join in the feast.

Video: Day of the dead. Mexico. Behind the scenes

Никита Береговой

Author on the TRAVEL GUIDE website Considers himself an amateur traveler. Engineer by education, IT specialist. She loves computer graphics, travel and interior design. My favorite holiday destination is Thailand, but I wouldn’t mind visiting old Europe. Traveled to 18 countries on 3 continents. In his free time from work and travel, he devotes himself to his house, which he built from scratch almost single-handedly. Promises to delight everyone with useful and interesting information...

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