Wooden skeleton, approximately 12 " tall, Oaxaca (Courtesy of Nancy Walkup)

Oaxacans typically build an altar in their homes using a table with boxes covered in white cloth, representing the gravesites of their lost loved ones. Oaxaca is a favorite destination of tourists who wish to observe the Oaxacan celebrations for Dia de los Muertos. An arch is formed from stalks of sugar cane or carrizo tied to the legs of the table. During the month of October, the markets sell the food and items used to create the family altar. Items such as candles, flowers, photos of the deceased, and food are arranged on the altar. The food might include: pumpkin cooked with brown sugar or nicuatole, pan de muerto, and fresh fruit. Special attention is given to the deceased’s favorites in life. For example, if the loved one enjoyed bike riding, a figurine such as the one represented on the left would be placed on the altar along with the other items. Minature skeletons made of clay, wood, and paper mache representing a profession or engaged in lifelike activity are selected to symbolize the loved ones favorite activities in life.

Oaxacan’s also decorate their families gravesites in the cemeteries and offer food and drink spending time with their deceased and living family members.

Many tourists flock to Oaxaca to observe the celebrations. Oaxacan’s courteously welcome thousands of visitors.

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