Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos
By the end of my last article, I wrote how excited I was to be here in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos. I never heard of this holiday before I watched the Pixar movie “Coco”. Actually, I reckon that many Europeans don’t know about this festive holiday either.
You won’t only find me in the ocean surfing and diving or in the mountains hiking, but also going to museums and experiencing local celebrations.
Anyway, I want to introduce to you this day and how I celebrated it in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Dia de los Muertos is a very traditional celebration here in Mexico. It occurs on the same date every year, starting from the 1st of November and ending the following day on the 2nd.
Usually, children and infants are honored on November 1.
And on November 2, deceased adults. Surprisingly, the celebrations can take a humorous tone. Especially when the families remember funny events and anecdotes about the person who passed away.
This famous two-day holiday is not only honoring the spirits of the deceased but it also supports their spiritual journey back to Earth.
So what I learned from “Coco” and from celebrating it here in Mexico is that family and friends gather together on these days and visit the graves of their family. Traditionally, the families spend time at their altars, which resemble elaborate shrines, and pray or tell anecdotes about them.
They can be found at home or at the grave sites.
Ofrendas and Food
At the colorful ofrendas (altars), the living relatives bring sugar skulls, Aztec marigolds, fruit, nuts or the favorite food of the passed beloved ones to honor them. In Mexico, the marigold is sometimes also known as Flor de Muerto (Flower of the Dead). It is believed that the strong scent guides the souls back to their family’s homes and attracts the souls to the ofrendras.
And I can tell you the ofrendas I got to see are so lovely and beautifully decorated that my heart melted.
Pan de muerto and Calaveras (skulls) are often eat on the Day of the Dead.
Pan de Muerto is a sweet bun, topped with sugar and decorated with a bone-shape pattern. And Calaveras are sugar skulls.
There are also poems called Calaveras, written about the habits or funny anecdotes about the deceased.
My Experiences in Oaxaca
I truly had a great experience spending Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca. The best part was spending it with my friends, and making new friends along the way.
I think being part of the culture and visiting the private ofrendas was a beautiful experience I will never forget.
I like Oaxaca City so much that I would consider coming back next year to spend Day of the Dead here again. The parade, the visits to the cemeteries and the whole environment were just incredibly exciting and festive.
But the best thing about it – I was able to spend it with Mauricio and my new friend Hannah, whom I met in Tikal, Guatemala.
Go To Mexico
If you want to experience a very traditional and cultural festival to understand Mexico better, you NEED to visit during Dias de los Muertos in Mexico.
I am still thrilled about it while I am writing this post.
It is something you really don’t want to miss in your life.
And I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. This was the perfect ending for my Central American trip. It couldn’t have been better in my opinion.
Other Places in Oaxaca
Other places you might want to drop by are Mitla, a very important archeological site in Oaxaca. And Monte Albán, a large pre-Columbian archaeological site. Last but not least – El Árbol del Tule with an incredible huge tree trunk I have never seen in my life.
And eat and drink at the local market in the center. Don’t miss it to try Mole, my favourite food or sauce from Mexico.
Mole is a traditional sauce originally used in Mexico and has a fantastic taste!
Guadalajara – My Last Stop In Mexico
Now I am sitting in a coffee shop in Guadalajara, Jalisco writing all my memories down and enjoying my last days in Mexico.
The months I spent in Central America and Mexico passed so quickly. I’m very happy and nostalgic when I think about it. At this point I would like to thank Mauricio, my very great friend. For traveling with me and having so many adventures together.
And I will never forget the last few months which have shaped me. I live exactly for those moments. Because I want to have a life full of adventures. Thanks for everything Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Belize. You were just wonderful. Words can’t describe how happy I am and how much I value that time. And again how grateful I am for all those experiences in life.