Throughout Oaxaca during Day of the Dead festivities, flowers are abundant, especially marigolds and cocks combs. Flowers are used extensively on altars but are also used to create images on the ground and to create pathways to the altars.
In a large plaza several huge flower pictures were displayed.
During our first evening we witnessed a city full of fun pageantries, serious reenactments, dance contests, Catrina beauty competitions, food vendors and throngs of people having a grand time! It was like New Years Eve in NYC!
And more Catrinas.
In the markets we discovered special D of D items such as brightly decorated sugar skulls, many of which are placed on the altars.
Papel picado (pierced paper) folk art flags with skulls and Catrinas.
And special breads.
We visited a gallery with a D of D art exhibit.
And then, for two nights in a row, we visited very large cemeteries, one in the city and one on the outskirts. There we encountered people visiting family graves that were decorated with flowers, lit with candles and lanterns, and where offerings were placed. Families sat around the graves most of the night picnicking and listening to recorded music or music performed by roving mariachi bands. Occasionally we saw “live” skeletons. (my camera was not good with night-time photos without using a flash.)
Outside one of the cemeteries, there were vendors with flowers, lanterns and candles, etc. along with food vendors that contributed to a lively atmosphere.
There was nothing morbid about our whole experience. Instead, it was an on-going fiesta morning, noon and night!