Day of the Dead, Oaxacan Woodcarving
Dia de los Muertos is when the spirits come back to visit their families. Every house, store, cemetery, and zocalo have an alter to welcome back their loved ones. These temporary shrines contain a photo of the person, favorite drinks and food, mezcal, and keepsakes the dead may miss like left behind paraphernalia .
Copal incense and candles elevate prayers of the living. It is very important to build an alter for a specific person otherwise you could invite back a bad or lost soul or possibly devils.
Days of the Dead are on November 1 and 2, however in Oaxaca lot of the festivities begin a week in advance. Parades on various streets meet in the zocalo, performers, vendors, clowns, and costumed kids and adults. On Halloween day the downtown cemetery in old downtown becomes the nexus of activities.
There you will see amazing costumes and artfully painted faces. Candles light the way. Tombs of loved ones graves are festooned with decorations and food. Here food is served and people dine around the graves celebrating.
Day of the Dead is by far the biggest event of the year in Oaxaca. The character creations and inventions inspire everyone. From kids smeared in motor oil looking like devils to beautiful women in formal wear faces painted as skeletons.
Most of all it's a time for families to remember, acknowledge and appreciate the lineage of those that lived before them or the recently near and dear.
In the 21st century the concept are being mainstreamed into movies giving the world a glimpse of elaborate fashion and purpose.
Oaxacan carvers produce very special themed pieces only at this time of year and we as collectors prize those uniquely one of a kind skeletons, devils, and nahuals for their thematic connection to the world beyond sight.