Day of the Dead Program

Dia de los Muertos is a festival that takes place in Mexico on the 1st and 2nd of November.

day of the dead oaxacaLegend has it that dead souls make the journey back to the living world to enjoy the pleasures of life for a short time. This time of year boasts as the most colorful of Oaxaca’s many celebrations, and the whole city and surrounding municipalities take part in creating beautiful, elaborate altars and shrines dedicated to those who have passed away.

The Spanish immersion programs at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca encourage you to take part in the many activities organized in and around the City of Oaxaca. We run tours to some of the well-known cemeteries in places such as Xoxocotlán and San Felipe del Agua in order for you to explore and understand what you are experiencing. As many activities take place during the same day and often at the same time, we make it possible for you to choose those which you feel would be more enjoyable.

In the week leading up to the Day of the Dead, we present a special lecture on the significance of the festival that includes an explanation of the particular traditions relating to the altars, shrines and comparsas (street parades). We also offer a mask-making workshop where you can make your own traditional mask to wear during the festivities.

We create our own altar on the grounds of the Instituto using the traditional flowers and other symbolic elements of the celebration. On 31st of October, we have our own comparsa; Students and staff alike dance to the music of a live band as the comparsa winds its way through nearby streets.