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Oaxaca Travel Guide

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

The provenance of the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous inhabitants such as the Aztec, Maya, P'urhépecha, Nahua, and Totonac. Rituals celebrating the lives of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 3000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

One of the most important festivities in Oaxaca is The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), it is also one of the most liked by tourists and others who desire to observe the "picturesque" and " folkloric" Oaxacan customs, one of this is passing the night in the graveyard with food, music and gaiety strikes, as does the importance on all aspects of death, skeletons as adornment, singular altars honoring the deceased.

In several houses the people build altars with floral offerings, of fruits and meals, also never lack the mezcal, the cigarette or any other gift that was part of the taste of the relative disappeared. These days are of great meals, like the mole negro of guajolote, regional candies of pumpkin or chilacayota, traditional bread of yolk, chocolate and other foods. In Oaxaca one gets used to “gathering dead” (the fruits and foods of the altars) during the days of the celebration, forming part of some “comparsa” (group of people walking together) of disguises, dancing of house in house and celebrating “the life of the death”.

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