Day of the Dead Xoxocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico
Other 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. Catholic 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 evening of the last night of October, the 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 the town's
main Plaza or
build altars called
decorate in the
flowers, fruit, nuts
and all the treats
that the departed
favored in their
Xoxocotlan Day of the Dead Cemetery Visits
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
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
are proud of their efforts
to attract the spirit back
for a visit, lured by the
scent of copal burning
and the pungent
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Schedule of Cemetery Visits
Xoxocotlan. This town a few miles southwest of Oaxaca City has 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 Velasco A 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). is a small cemetery and will be jammed
with flowers and candles as the families clean the graves
and prepare the tombs for the return of the spirits.
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.
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
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
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
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Xoxocotlan Sand Painting