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The Cemeteries
 


A shot inside the cemetery walls

You hear a lot about the crazy parades of dia de los muertos, but the cemeteries are just as, if not more, spectacular. Flowers, candy, bread and drink adorn the tombs and thousands and thousands of candles cast an eerie, romantic glow on the families and friends mourning and celebrating their lost loved ones.

If you ever go to Mexico to see the Day of the Dead, you must make a tour of the local cemeteries, you'll never forget it. Make sure you bring a jacket, a flashlight, and a camera that is very good at taking pictures in low-light.

This is the place the souls of the dead revisit the land of the living and partake in the offerings given them by their family and friends.


As described on the Background page, in Oaxaca there are two cemetery tours you should take. One is out to the main cemetery. This is where the parades in town terminate and there are local competitions for ofrendas and tapetes de arena. There is also a veritable carnival outside the cemetery gates as well as live music and dancing. I'll show more photos of this party atmosphere later on.

You should also get around to see at least one local village cemetery. These are always much more decorated than the main cemetery near Oaxaca.

At right is the decorated entrance to the city's large cemetery complex.

The walls of the mausoleum surrounding Oaxaca's cemetery are filled with candles. Our guide told us that the stalls that are walled up and have a name written on them contain a body. The stalls are rented out for seven years. After seven years the family who rented it has the option of removing the body and burying the skeleton, or renting it for another seven years.

The next photos were all taken at local village cemeteries. The inside of the main cemetery in Oaxaca isn't nearly as well decorated as these.

The locals in the cemetery were very casual about allowing tourists to take photos of them and the graves. For many of them , their moods were somber, but there were some groups that were chatty and cheerful.

Standing vigil over tombs were single people, couples, or entire families.


 

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