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Letters from Mexico

Don Karp






ExpatsBlog.com - Where Expats Blog

December 5, 2023

Dia de Los Muertos- Tepoztlán

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. The new sign at the town common (zocalo) with Dia Day Muertos decorations. Photo by author

Dia de Muertos is an important fiesta celebrated in all Latin American countries. Every town in Mexico has different customs, and Tepoztlán is no exception. In an earlier article, I described this fiesta, with photos and a video, noting that the locals do not like Halloween, although they are close together in time and with some common customs. Featured are the Catrinas, the town common, and discussion about individual family altars.

In this article, I go more deeply into the market and neighborhood scenes.

The Market

To prepare for this special fiesta, one needs lots of flowers, candles, and other accoutrements. The market, extending into the town common, or zocalo, panders to these needs.

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Flowers for Dia de Muertos for sale in the comon (zocalo). Photo by author

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Candles for sale for Dia de Muertos in the common (zocalo). Photo by author

Every town has its own elaborate altar, and Tepoztlán has several around the central kiosk in the zocalo, as you can see below.

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Dia de Muertos altars in the zocalo. Photo by author

Here is a video of the marketplace before Dia de Muertos:

My Neighborhood

Dia de Muertos is my favorite Mexican holiday. Why? Because the residential neighborhoods and other streets are filled with families with their children until late into the night. From my visits to the US, I can attest that residential streets are considered dangerous. They are empty even in the middle of the day. People leave their homes to go somewhere in their car. I never see children playing in the street as when I was a kid. You might guess that because the streets always are populated, Mexico is less dangerous. But I digress.  

The video below begins with costumed children going door to door begging for candy: "Un lemon por mi calabasa." It was dark, so my camera struggled to capture this image.

Many homes have fires outside in the street to welcome in the spirits of the dead. This video features those fires. Note the variety in the sound track.


Here is a video from my friend Jose to document the fiesta in the local cemetery, an important part of Dia de Muertos:

If you want to learn more about Dia de Muertos, what it means on a deep level about beliefs on death and dying, I strongly suggest you treat yourself to watching the Disney/Pixar animation, Coco. Noted even by Mexicans for its authenticity, here is a video about five things that inspired it.

I've just scratched the surface here on the customs and depth of meaning of Dia de Muertos, but maybe this inspires you to learn more. Come to Mexico to experience it. I might be able to host you at this special time of the year. Contact me: [email protected]

AN OPPORTUNITY:  My two new ebooks are on Amazon, free from Dec. 15-19. Under "books" put my name in the search: "Don Karp."


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Interesting coverage.

--Maria Espinosa

Glad you liked it, Maria. Thanks























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