Throughout the year, Oaxaca offers endless discoveries for visitors. But for a visitor like me, the high season of Muertos is beyond compare. There are lots of cultural and Muertos related festivities and events—weeks prior, leading up to the eve of observance. My photo journal is primarily focused on celebrations within Oaxaca City and nearby communities during my visits from 2012-2021.
Ciudad de Oaxaca and nearby communities observe Day of the Dead beginning October 31 – November 2: The monumental celebration for the community of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán is evident on October 31. Revolving tour buses filled with curious tourists flood this small community on the evening of the 31st. Some of the most stunning, authentic and adoring public alters are produced inside antiquated cemeteries within Oaxaca. November 1st is the popular, grand fiesta in Oaxaca City. Its Panteón General is crammed with residents and onlookers—gawking at the dazzling candlelit niches, altars and adorned graves. The cemetery’s perimeter is transformed into a festival—decked with food, flower and memorabilia vendors surrounded by galleries of games and carnival rides. The final community cemetery observance is always poignant inside of the cemetery at San Felipe del Agua. On the evening of November 2, the celebrations are winding down and this final cemetery visit is a sincere, dimming tribute to this astounding anniversary for loved souls.
The sites included are: Santo Domingo Church, Plaza de la Danza at Soledad Church, Calle Alcalá and Panteón General in Oaxaca City, San Felipe del Agua cemetery, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán and the Panteón Antigua Xoxocotlán. Amazing artistas callejeros (street performers), tapetes, and altars—including families making their preparations, both solemn and celebratory.
I’ve also included a short film we made during our 2012 visit.
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