ATZOMPA: INTIMATE DAY OF THE DEAD WITH A FAMILY OF CLAY ARTISANS
Guided Experience / Fitness level: Easy / Group Size: Up to 10 people
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Join us to visit a host family at Atzompa for a genuine Dia de los Muertos experience. Santa Maria Atzompa is a town municipality on the outskirts of Oaxaca. It’s economy has relied heavily on the production of clay materials with a distinctive green glaze. These works of art have been exported to other parts of Mexico and even made their way to the United States. Nowadays, most of their work is sold on site as the demand for these pieces has steadily risen over the years.
On our half day experience, we’ll take a closer look at Dia de los Muertos, how it’s celebrated by our host family and their neighbors, and how customs change depending on families and who they’ve lost.
We’ll meet at the COYOTE office at 2:50 PM to get ready for our 3:00 PM departure. About forty minutes later, we’ll arrive at the home of the family who will show us our first altar. There, we’ll receive a presentation about the significance of the altar and the objects and or decorations used to help create this altar. After we’ve learned about our first altar, our host family will take us to our second altar where we’ll begin to notice the diversity within the presentation of these altars. After we’ve spent some time checking out our second altar, our host family will take us to their home where a home-cooked traditional dinner will await us.
Before sitting down to eat, members of the host family will take the time to cleanse us with copal as it is the tradition to do so before entering their home during Muertos. The meal will consist of traditional Dia de los Muertos plates such as mole, tamales, sopa de guias, tortillas, and many other ancestral dishes enjoyed during this day. Mezcal, chocolate, and beer will also be served.
Once we’ve enjoyed dinner, we’ll have an opportunity to see our third altar. Members of the group are encouraged to bring flowers, candles, food enjoyed by your loved ones, and pictures of your loved ones to contribute to the altar. It’s important to remember that leaving an offering at the altar can bring about a moment of grief and introspect. While this occurs, other members of the group will have the chance to look around our host family’s clay studio where they make beautiful plates, bowls, sculptures, and other decorative works of art.
Costumes are worn by many people in many places during Muertos. Decorative clothing and masks have been a tradition for many years. A custom that’s specific to Atzompa is the style of masks and clothing worn by the locals. At our host family’s home, we will see an example of this tradition with the children of the family and how they express themselves through a tradition called comparsa.
To wrap up our Muertos celebration, we’ll walk to Atzompa cemetery, which is one of the most iconic near Oaxaca City. Adorned with a wide variety of candles, flowers, and other decorative objects, people gather around their family´s tombs to say goodbye to the spirits who have visited them during this day.
Dia de los Muertos is the most important holiday for many people here in Mexico. Our host family in Atzompa has been very generous in letting us bring people into their homes during these sacred times. Join us on this Dia de los Muertos experience in Atzompa and to cherish this unforgettable experience.
Adults (13 +): $2,00 MXN
Kids (- 12): $1,050 MXN
Outdoor activities carry risks, and you may be exposed to dangerous situations as part of this experience. Make sure you can participate safely given your abilities and the conditions (such as location, weather, and equipment).
15:00 Departure from Oaxaca City to Atzompa
15:45 Arrive at the home of a local family, who will introduce us and share important information regarding this celebration. First Altar visit and Welcome to Atzompa.
16:45 Second Altar visit at home #2.
18:00 Arrive at the home of our Dinner host family, many generations of clay artisans. Welcome introduction by our host with copal limpia.
19:00 Dinner begins.
20:30 – 21:00 Comparsa de los nietos de Ana María. Disfraces y máscaras tradicionales de Atzompa.
21:00 – 22:00 Private time for travelers to introspect in front of the altar.
22:00 – 23:30 Visit Atzompa Cemetery
00:00 Back in Oaxaca
Trail Mix: Organic snacks
Entrance Fee to community & permissions
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