Oaxaca’s Celebration for the Dead

In Architecture & Design by Isabella Moreno

On November 2, the country celebrates all the loved ones who have left, we call it the Day of the Dead. The celebrations that are tradition in this country are images filled with flowers, offerings, photos and memories. The Mexican state which is a must to visit during these dates is, of course, the state and more particularly the City of Oaxaca. Throughout the length and breadth of the state, traditions and altars are beginning to rise throughout the month to create a great celebration on November 2. The ritual is formed by means of a popular ceremony in which people invoke the spirits of the ancestors to come to them to enjoy a time together in the earthly world.

The way to do this is by means of an “altar” that is made up of various things: the picture of the ancestor or the different characters to which you want to invite, lots of decoration to attract the spirit, cempazuchitl flowers and the favorite food of the individual to delight him or her to the earthly world. This comes together as a wonderful architectural and design space. It is also common to insert symbols or objects that represent the habits of this person like a pack of cigarettes, their belongings, hair brushes, sports balls or objects, shoes, etc.The visit from the spirits to our world is obtained by means of a “permission” in the beyond. The dead return home by inertia, by being attracted by the well-known smells of their earthly home, by the objects that were theirs in their earthly life and by the love for their families. Almost all the population of Mexico remains rooted and attracted to this tradition that in some way strengthens family and activates the memory of the beings who have been loved.

Oaxaca on November 2 is a magical experience; the inhabitants decorate the graves of their ancestors with flowers, shredded paper, fruit, “Dead Bread” and tons of candles, creating a fascinating scenario that only happens in this location of the planet. It is an image and experience that needs to be lived at least once in a lifetime.

If you have the opportunity to visit during these dates, do not fail to visit the Pantheon, the market on the street “20 November”, the Museum of Philately, Santo Domingo, the Ethnobotanical Garden, IAGO and walk along the streets that are always full of folklore and tradition.




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