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Has anyone been in Mexico for Day of the Dead?

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Jul 5th, 2014, 08:16 AM
  #1
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Has anyone been in Mexico for Day of the Dead?

This event seems like something I'd like to see, but I'm not sure if it would be crass to be present during the ceremonies--if that's the right word.

I realize that visiting the graves of relatives is not supposed to be a tourist attraction, but I've heard so much about the Day of the Dead that I'd like to somehow experience it.

Any opinions?
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Jul 7th, 2014, 08:30 AM
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yes, I have been several times for Muertos. Oaxaca 3 times. I have used a private guide (Linda Hanna) once to visit a cemetery outside of Oaxaca, but I had a better experience with a bus your that went to 3 cemeteries ( I booked the tour online through a hotel in Oaxaca). In one of them, I was invited by the family of a 17 yr old boy who was buried there to sit with them and drink some mescal. They told me all about their son, they had pictures of him and all his favorite things placed around his grave. I have not felt like an intruder. Just be respectful, some family members want to be left alone and some are more open in wanting to celebrate the life of there loved ones. Two of the 4 cemeteries I have been to had bands playing, many food and drink stalls lining the streets just outside the ecemtary gates, etc. Lively atmosphere, lots of people. It's a celebration. There are parades in the streets of Oaxaca at night during Muertos also, and a BIG street parade in Etla.

I have also been to Mexico City for Muertos. BIG celebrations in the zocalo outside the cathedral. BIG celebrations during the day in the cathedral. I did not go to any cemeteries there though.
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Jul 7th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Oops, their, not there
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Jul 7th, 2014, 10:34 AM
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I will be in Puerto Vallarta for the first time this year and will let you know after my trip.

But had a friend who was there (PV) previously. It is a holiday that is honored, but it's not a big a deal there as it is in other cities. He said besides at the cemetery, families set up 'altars' of remembrance for people in the main square.
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Jul 7th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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Some towns make a bigger festivity of Muertos than others do. For instance the small town of Cuetzalan is a pretty good place for Day of the Dead, the Graves at the town cemetery are all decorated in abundance, lots ofaltars and traditional Muertos breads and skull candies in the town, etc.

Patzcuaro is another huge place for Muertos. The island in the lake is one big festivity and the cemetery is very traditionally decorated and families everywhere attending to the graves and souls of their loved ones. but it is a zoo there, as it is a small space (island) and lots of tourists and photographers go.

The last time I was in Oaxaca two yrs ago for Muertos, I did not see many tourists at all. there were more 5 yrs ago, but not 2 yrs ago. Noticeable decline in Day of the Dead tourists 2 yrs ago. We SA only a handful of Europeans, and met no other Americans at our hotel, in the restaurants, on the streets, in the markets, or in the cemetary. We went to the cemetery at Azotema on that trip in the hills outside Oaxaca. And Etla. I have also been to the main panteo in the city of Oaxaca, the really old cemetery and XoXocotlan. XoXocotlan was my favorite, lots of food stalls, bands, friendly people, that is where I sat and drank mescal with the family of the hound man who had died.
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Jul 7th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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The key words here are respect and celebration. The cemeterys are colorful and vibrant throuout the year but at this particular time, the friends and relatives gather around the headstones and clean up, paint, decorate, plays music but mostly to celebrate the strongpoints and also their weaknesses. If this person loved tequila, then they would change the empty bottle to a newer one or anything else related to it. People dress up and maskarade and paint their faces and walk around town. If you do visit a cemetary, please be respectful, unless it is one of your friends buried there, in that case, you can celebrate and enjoy fond memories with a shot of tequila and a little music, especially if it's the tune he or she enjoyed...
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Jul 7th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the answers.
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Jul 8th, 2014, 07:43 AM
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There will be altars beside the town hall in Puerto Vallarta and several other places in town, dedicated to family members or famous historical people. On the actual night the families go to the cemetery, I wouldn't go then, but next day would be OK, all the flowers, decorations and offerings will still be there.
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Jul 8th, 2014, 09:05 AM
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cabron, Can I please ask the other locations in addition to the square by town hall? This is the first time I happen to be in Vallarta for the day and I'd like to look around more.
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