Oaxaca Day of the Dead 2023: Details, FAQ, History, Location & More!

Day of the Dead - Día de Muertos

What is Day of the Dead?

Día de Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated each year from October 31st to November 2nd.

Families across Mexico celebrated this holiday as a reunion with the souls of their deceased loved ones, and the festivities involve hearty feasts and celebrations.

It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit their loved ones, and families prepare elaborate home altars to receive their ancestors and deceased relatives with their favorite meals, marigolds and decorated skulls covered in chocolate or sugar. 

Oaxaca City really comes to life during During Day of the Dead with parades, art exhibits and live performances to commemorate the annual celebration known as Día de Muertos.

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Oaxaca Day of the Dead 2023

Planning on visiting Oaxaca this year for Día de Muertos 2023?

Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Day of the Dead so that you can better understand the holiday, the culture and traditions as well as what you can expect to witness during Día de Muertos in Oaxaca.

When is Day of the Dead 2023?

The Oaxaca Day of the Dead 2023 celebration will begin on Tuesday October 31st, 2023 and end on Thursday November 2nd, 2023.

How is Day of the Dead celebrated in Oaxaca?

Families in Oaxaca celebrate Día de Muertos by decorating their home altars and visiting local cemeteries. Graves are decorated with sugar skulls and flowers, and since the souls of the deceased are believed to return, families prepare their favorite foods.

Local musicians are hired to serenade the deceased souls with their favorite songs, and people head outdoors in colorful dresses to join the marching bands and spectacles held throughout the city.

What are 4 traditions for Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead Traditions include building decorative home altars also known as ‘ofrendas’, making sugar skulls (calaveras) with the deceased’s’ names written on them and decorating the graves of those who have passed. The graves are decorated with marigolds and visitors bring gifts and other offerings for the deceased.

Where is the best place to see Day of the Dead in Mexico?

Many argue that the best place to experience the most authentic Día de Muertos celebrations is in Janitzio, Michoacán, México.

While Janitzio is an incredible destination for Día de Muertos, Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead celebrations are more commonly known as Oaxaca receives more domestic and international tourism as well as media coverage for the event.

Mexico City is also a popular choice for those who want to witness their annual Day of the Dead parade and celebration.

What part of Oaxaca are the activities for the Day of the Dead?

The celebrations typically begin at two of Oaxaca’s largest cemeteries, the Panteon General and the Xochimilco Cemetery followed by marching bands and parades are held across the city. Festivities can be found in the zocalo (main square), area around the Santo Domingo Church, Jalatlaco and more.

What is Oaxaca like on Day of the Dead?

Oaxaca buzzes with excitement and festivities as the Day of the Dead brings locals and visitors to the streets and cemeteries of the city.

With live music performances, art and traditional Mexican food as are as the eyes can see, it’s hard to not want to be a part of such an incredibly iconic celebration.

The streets are transformed with beautiful sand tapestries, known as tapetes de arena, created by local artists.

Participants and onlookers from around the world wear colorful costumes and paint their faces to resemble ghoulish calaveras while marching bands take to the streets with their instruments.

What savory sauce is a crucial part of the feasts here in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead?

Mole, a dark and richly flavored sauce, is a crucial element of Oaxacan celebrations and feasts, and it is inspired by Oaxaca’s legacy as the Land of the Seven Moles.

When is a good day to arrive to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead?

The best time to arrive to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead is no later than October 29th.

If you get to Oaxaca City. a few days early, you’ll have time to take a walking tour of the city and get your bearings for the upcoming festivities which start on October 31st and run through November 2nd.

Is Day of the Dead better in Oaxaca or Mexico City?

While Mexico City hosts one of the best Day of the Dead parades in the country, there is truly nothing like being in Oaxaca for Día de Muertos as the celebrations are more spiritual and authentic with ancient rituals and traditions that are still intact to this day.

How do I get to the Day of the Dead celebrations?

Visitors planning on attending Day of the Dead in Oaxaca can choose to drive to Oaxaca or fly into Oaxaca Airport.

Those who choose to fly to Oaxaca should consider pre-booking an airport shuttle to save time and avoid the hassles of haggling with taxis.

Where can I buy Day of the Dead face paint and makeup?

When it comes to dressing up for Day of the Dead, you can choose to paint your face or buy a Day of the Dead mask.

Both are great options but face paint is the most traditional way to celebrate Dia de Muertos in Mexico.

Flower crown headpieces are also really popular for women wanting to blend in with the locals.

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Where to stay in Oaxaca for Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead 2023 will be taking place in the streets and cemeteries of Oaxaca City. Check out our recommended hotels here: Top 25 Best Hotels in Oaxaca City.

If you’re planning on traveling to Oaxaca for Día de Muertos, we highly recommend you book your hostel, hotel or Airbnb well in advance as the city will be packed and accommodation options will be limited.

Our best advice would be to book centrally located accommodations for the upcoming 2023 Day of the Dead celebration in Oaxaca.

Recommended areas to stay in Oaxaca include: Zocalo (main square), the area surrounding the Santo Domingo Church, Jalatlaco, and Reforma.

Casa de la Asuncion Oaxaca

Image Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Rating: 5.0 ⭐️ (Read Reviews)

🏨 Casa de la Asuncion

Top Rated, Centrally Located Hotel in Oaxaca City

Casa de la Asunción is a beautiful hotel located just steps from Oaxaca Cathedral and Santo Domingo Temple. This hotel offers free Wi-FI, air-conditioning, flat-screen tv, on-site restaurant, room service and more.

Casa Antonieta Oaxaca

Image Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Rating: 4.8 ⭐️ (Read Reviews)

🏨 Casa Antonieta

Top Rated, Boutique Hotel in Oaxaca City

Casa Antonieta is a stunning boutique hotel located in downtown Oaxaca City and within walking distance to the Zocalo as well as the Templo de Santo Domingo. Surrounded by hundreds of restaurants, shops and other major sites, Casa Antonieta has free Wi-FI, air condition and is pet-friendly for an additional charge

Majagua Boutique Hotel Oaxaca

Image Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Rating: 4.6 ⭐️ (Read Reviews)

🏨 Majagua Boutique Hotel

Adults Only Boutique Hotel w/ Breakfast Included

Majagua Boutique Hotel is an adults only boutique hotel in Oaxaca located just behind the Templo de Santo Domingo. This hotel offers a free welcome cocktail, on-site restaurant, early check in and late checkout.


Oaxaca Day of the Dead Tours

If the Día de Muertos is something new to you and you’re looking for something more structured than simply wandering around watching the celebrations without really knowing what’s going on, you could always opt for a Oaxaca Day of the Dead Tour.

Day of the Dead tours provide visitors to educate themselves and better understand one of Mexico’s most iconic celebrations.

One of the many things you will learn by taking a Day of the Dead tour is why it is believed that the souls of the deceased are allowed to return from the underworld and visit their loved ones.

It will also help you understand why families greet their ancestors and deceased relatives with food, flowers, music, and other offerings such as home altars, sugar coated skulls and more.

This immersive tour offers a wholesome experience to experience this tradition, including visiting the local cemeteries, attending the most important parades, and celebrate alongside locals.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy delicious local Oaxacan food and dance the night away in colorful costumes and face paint.

If Day of the Dead tours aren’t for you and you would rather explore more of Oaxaca, be sure to check out our recommended tours page here.

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