Dia de los Muertos, Oaxaca, November 2009

Dia de los Muertos, Oaxaca, November 2009

The days when the dead return…

We spend the weekend of November 1 and 2 in the lovely city of Oaxaca (Oaxaca) where we take part in the celebration of the most important and at the same time most macabre ‘fiesta’ in Mexico: the ‘Days of the Death’ (Dias de los Muertos)…

According to an old Indian legend the death is not the end of human life – but transfers the spirit to a parallel world. From there the deceased return to their families once a year, but need a little help in order to find their proper homes. Therefore the families build symbolic entrances of flowers and prepare fruits, bread, sweets and water for the deceased who are hungry and thirsty after such a long journey…

In Oaxaca the indigenous population is in the majority, which lends the celebration of the ‘Days of the Death’ a particular importance in this part of the country. The different regions of Oaxaca come to town to  present their customs and compete for the most beautiful “altar”….

In the night of October 31st the deceased children are the first to return. Around the central square (the Zócalo) we admire lots of adorably dressed up children, who follow the local brass band together their very proud parents… The deceased adults follow the next night: we’ll report!

Quite typically for the multicultural Mexico, the old Indian tradition has been mixed with the Christian celebration of “All-Saints-Day” and the US-American “Halloween”. The result is a great spectacle which reminds everyone on the momentariness of life (no matter if rich or poor) and mocks death. But at the same time it is also a great celebration of life – at least we perceived it this way!

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