Frenetic, bonkers and surprisingly joyful - a trip to Oaxaca in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations challenged all of Original Traveller Alexandra's preconceptions. Read on to find out more about her unusual holiday...
It's so interesting to see how other cultures deal with death. While we're speaking in hushed wispers and shrouding death in mystery, others embrace it as a natural part of life, and something to be celebrated. The Day of the Dead festival in Mexico is a colourful, musical example. I spent it in the culinary capital of Mexico, Oaxaca, just south of Mexico City. Here they embrace it on a far more elaborate level than many other places, although it is a country-wide festival.
We joined festivities in the Zocalo (central square) in the evening. The air was full of music and everyone was elaborately dressed up as skeletons, draculas and oversized ghouls! We followed the children who were frenetically dashing around the leading band, band members all on stilts and leading revellers through the town and into the cemetery.
The Mexicans really know how to party
Everyone was laughing, singing and dancing as we carried candles into the graveyard, heftily decorated skeletons and flickering candles everywhere. My pre-conceptions about graveyards as macabre and gloomy places were trumpeted away in a blast of colour and singing. What an extraordinary event. The Mexicans really know how to party, and celebrate a natural part of our existence.