Day of the Dead, Xoxocotlan Oaxaca, October 31

Families have worked in the afternoon to prepare the marigold flowers and decorate the tombs. Families leave offerings for the spirits in the home and at the cemetery.They will often leave a path of flower petals to guide the spirits.
A Day of the Dead visit to the cemeteries of Xoxocotlan near Oaxaca on the last night of October can be a magical time because of the thousands of candles and the marigolds and cockscomb flowers that decorate the tombs.
The Day of the Dead is celebrated in each of Xoxocotlan's two cemeteries differently. The New cemetery is less densely packed and this has given the families room to make sand paintings. Some are done in bass relief, others in a traditional flat layers of colored sand or powder. Christian symbols prevail in the sand paintings.

During the Day of the Dead

In Xoxocotlan the streets leading to the cemeteries overflow with flower sellers supplying the families the marigold they will use to decorate their home altars and tombs. Marigold and cockscomb are the flowers with special meaning.The marigold is called the Fleur de Meurto the flower of death.
In the eveningof the last night of October Day of the Dead begins as the families come to the two Xoxocotlan cemeteries and sit by the tombs as they wait for the return of the spirits.

In the new cemetery of Xoxocotlan, artist Juan Cruz Pascual honors his father 's memory on the Day of the Dead by decorating with a sand painting replete with Christian motifs

Day of the Dead in Xoxocotlan

Xoxo celebrates in the town's main Plaza or Zocalo where student groups build altars called ofrenda.They decorate in the traditional way with marigold flowers, fruit, nuts jicama, bananas and all the treats that the departed favored in their lifetime.

A traditional sand painting done with stencils

Xoxocotlan Day of the DeadCemetery Visits

October 31 in two cemeteries at the town of Xoxocotlan

Xoxocotlan Day of the Dead altars or offerings display treats the departed loved in life
The Day of the Dead preparations include the decorating with pungent marigold,the scent is thought to attract the spirit to the home and offering
A traditional offering table decorates the home
Xoxocotlan Cemetery Viejo (pictured left) is densely packed and ablaze with candlelight the last night of October.
The families do not mind if you take photos of the decorated tombs,Most are proud of their efforts to attract the spirit back for a visit, lured by the scent of copal burning and the pungent marigold

Oaxaca Day of the Dead Schedule of Cemetery Visits  October, 31

Xoxocotlan. This town a few miles southwest of Oaxaca Cityhas two Cemeteries, Cementario Viejo, and the new Cementario Nuevo.

October 31
, the village of Atzompa holds a later cemetery vigil starting around 11 pm.

Day of the Dead November 1

Oaxaca City Cemetery, Panteon General on the east side of the city

Tlaixtac de Cabrera,
six miles south east of Oaxaca City

San Felipe del Agua
, north of Oaxaca City November 2,
Village of San Antonino Castillo VelascoA flower growing village that celebrates a week after the others

The Day of the Dead Festival in Xoxocotlan takes place on the night of October 31. The night vigils occur in Xoxocotlan's two cemeteries. Xoxocotlan's old cemetery (Cementario Viejo) and the new cemetery.
Reach the Xoxocotlan Cemeteries:
Transportation to Xoxocotlan Cemetery is available from Oaxaca city by bus, taxi, or car.Xoxo Cemetery visits occur on October 31. 
  • Bus to Xoxocotlan
There are two bus options to reach Xoxocotlan.One bus runs past the Llano park going south on Benito Juarez and reaches the center of Xoxo.This bus will be marked Xoxo.Another bus runs from a station a six blocks south of the Zocalo on avenue Bustamante.This is the Zaachila Bus, it passes Xoxo on its way to Cuilapan and Zaachila.
  • Tour Group
First time visitors are best off with one of the many Oaxaca Tour Agencies such as Borroco Tours located on Garcia Vigil(street)They arrange small or large group van tours for visitors to the village of Xoxo for the two cemeteries.They guide you in the cemetery, help you make photos, and provide local information about the event.
  • Taxi
Otherwise the best option is taxi or collective taxi.Arrange for your return or determine the loading place at the village when you arrive.It could be difficult to find later in the evening.
The collective taxis for Xoxo leave from a depot on Calle (street) Miguel Cabrera, five blocks south of the Zocalo.
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Xoxocotlan Sand Painting
The Day of the Dead altar or offering is built in the home and in the streets
Day of the Dead altar
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