Photo Story

Día De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) is the most time-honored and expressive holiday of Oaxaca.

by Enis Yücel
Panteon General (the Oaxaca General Cemetery), also known as the Panteon San Miguel.
Oaxacans celebrating Dia de les Muertos in Panteon San Miguel cemetery. © Enis Yücel

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout the world by people of Mexican ancestry. It takes places over the course of three days: October 31, November 1, and November 2. The holiday is a time for family and friends to remember and pray for those who have died and to guide them on their spiritual journey

Day of the Dead Festival is a deeply personal, significant occasion, one during which families of Mexican heritage come together to rejoice in the belief that death is a natural part of life, and that relatives who have died are never truly gone. Ofrendas (altars) paying homage to the deceased are set up in homes, and offerings are made to them at graveyards.

It is an example of the relationship between Christianity and the Pre-Hispanic traditions found in the state of Oaxaca.

Although Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is recognized all over Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for its ornately rich celebrations that honor the return of their deceased loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. In the state capital, Oaxaca City, the festivities of Día de los Muertos begin a week before the 1st and 2nd of November with the commencement of the “Plaza de los Muertos.”

It is believed that the dead, after their long pilgrimage from the other life, arrive on earth tired and thirsty, thus the altars are constructed as a place for them to visit loved ones, feast on their favorite foods and listen to their favorite music. Oaxacan altars are most commonly built during the last days of October in the homes of the Oaxacan people.






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