Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

As Native Oaxacan, and as most Oaxacans would say you can come to Oaxaca at any time during the year, the weather it is magnificent, you can join Calendas, parties, and celebrations through the whole year, but my favorite time of year it is during the Day of the Dear, or Dia de los muertos. 


Many would say that Christmas is the holyday that is most celebrated in Oaxaca, but it is the Day of the Dead, I would say people invest more money on the day of the dead celebrations than in any other celebration, for that reason at ICO we have design a program that while studying spanish allows you to enjoy the magic and the beauty of Oaxaca.

The Instituto Cultural Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead program consists of two weeks and this year we will have the following program. 

  • From 9 to 1PM as usual, we will have Spanish Language Classes
  • In the arternoons from Monday to Thursday we will have Cultural Workshops, but only for these two weeks of the year we host our Mask Making workshop. These masks are used during our Comparsa.  
  • Our Cooking workshop we will be learning how to make Mole Negro, which is the traditional dish served in this celebration
  • On October 31 we will host our annual Comparsa in which all of students, teachers, friends and families join us at ICO to celebrate the return of the Dead. On this day we will have our althar ignauration.
  • On October 31 we will visit the cemetery of Xoxocotlan. 
  • On November 1st we join the comparsas in the valley of Etla. 
  • On November 2nd we will visit the cemetery of San Felipe del Agua. 




In addition to activities held by the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, while you are in Oaxaca you will be able to witness the Day of the Dead festivities from different angles. For example if you decide to stay with a homestay family there are many chances that you will participate in the family’s altar set up. It is very likely that the family will invite you to participate in the different family events in which all the family gets together to received the returning loved ones. 

In the streets of Oaxaca is possible to witness festivals, contests of altars, there flowers and sand tapestries everywere. I recommend that you visit the pateon general which open its doors to welcome of the families, friends and all visitors who would like to partake of this amazing experience.

Markets – Previous to the Day of the Dead Markets operate at their full capacity everyone is buying flowers, candles, sweets, fruit, and all the ingredientes for their altars and of the preparation of the main meal, so the visit of a market is a Thing that you must do in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead.

Another way to get immerse in Oaxaca’s Culture during this time is by joining a tour with Fundacion En Via in which by supporting a local community you will get in exchange and authentic cultural experience

If you would like to spend your time enjoying Oaxaca and taking advantage of all the activies the ICO offers another way to participate in these celebration is with MOCAdventures who offers a unique and personal Day of the Dead Experience