Experience the most Mexican of holidays in beautiful Oaxaca in warm southern Mexico. Photographic opportunities and excitement abound as we take in parties held for the dead in cemeteries; elaborate altars, costume parades, colorful markets, splendid colonial churches, the locals and their daily life in Oaxaca. During the tour, we will also explore villages in the surrounding area, busy marketplaces and the ancient Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban.
In the days leading up to the Day of the Dead, many picturesque symbols begin to appear in homes, shops, markets, and throughout the city. Such as: imaginative wooden figures of skeletons and grand altars dedicated to the dead that are decorated with marigolds and other flowers, candles, and the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. Also imagine photographing unique skulls made of sugar or chocolate, called calaveras, and other foods decorated with skeletons and skulls. Large tapetas de arena or sand carpets, designed in tribute to the dead, also make for an intriguing photo.
The Day of the Dead or ‘Dia de losMuertos’ has been a tradition since ancient times. Indigenous Mexicans observed a day each year wherein they believe the spirits of the dead come back to visit the living on earth. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1500′s they attempted to eradicate most of the beliefs and customs of the Indians, but The Day of the Dead traditions remained, though somewhat fused with Catholicism and All Saints Day.
On November 2nd, and other nights in some villages, the cemeteries are full of people celebrating the dead. The gravesites are covered with flowers and thousands of candles placed on the graves light the whole graveyard. Many generations within a family sit around the gravesite and have a party for dead family members. They eat their favorite foods, drink their favorite beverages, including mescal, a liquor made from the agave cactus, and they all join in singing while the mariachis play the deceased’s favorite songs. These parties go on until late at night, then when most of the people depart, only the most traditional older women remain to sit in silent vigil at the gravesites until dawn.
We will photograph all of these traditions, and meet many of the local people along the way. You will not only come away with photos, but hopefully with new friends and memories, and a better understanding of the ancient cultures and traditions of Mexico. Join in for the festivities and photography like none other.
Share this page via: