Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca, Mexico

Baroque Access
Baroque Access
3 min read

While the US is celebrating Halloween, there’s an equally exciting festival in Mexico – Dia de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, takes place from October 31 to 2 November. Baroque Access has all the details about what’s going on in Oaxaca, where the largest festival in the country takes place

To herald the start of Fall, Mexico celebrates the seasonal change with a celebration of life and death, the Dia de Muertos festival, which traces its origins back to an Aztec festival that used to honor the dead. Today the tradition continues, with a lavish, colourful display of costumes, shows, food, music and non-stop parties.

The town of Oaxaca offers the largest festival in the country. Altars are placed all over the city to honor relatives, friends, families and schools. In addition, there’s a competition for the best and most creative altar.

To get the full experience of this exciting festival in Oaxaca, it’s best to visit the town’s local markets. You’ll not only have a feast for the eyes but also some delicious food and drinks as you navigate through an endless array of magnificent, creative altars. Best markets to visit include the 20 de Noviembre market, and the Central de Abastos market, located in the south of the city center.

Of course, these markets will be very crowded, but it’s worth a visit to see the colourful altars and to stock up on Oaxaca’s legendary hot chocolate. You’ll also see extraordinary sand tapestries, art created especially to honor the dead that are quite beautiful and incredibly colorful.

Every day and in the evening, Oaxaca also features Comparsas, a festive, boisterous, endless display of people dressed up in costumes, dancing in the streets to music. Everybody joins in and the party is never-ending fun.

What makes Oaxaca’s festival so special and exciting is that it’s huge – people from all the surrounding villages and towns come to take part in this colorful spectacle. Oaxaca itself is a fairly large town but walking is your best bet when there’s so much going on in the streets. As most of the streets are closed for parades and for people to display sculptures, altars and market goods, you won’t be able to get a taxi or other form of transport.

Although Oaxaca has plenty to offer the visitor, at this time of year you’ll be completely taken up with the festival. If you do have time to explore, spend a little time in the markets looking for bargains and sample the delicious food on offer.

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