Frenetic, bonkers and surprisingly joyful - a trip to Oaxaca in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations challenged all of Original Traveller Jules' preconceptions. Read on to find out more about her unusual holiday...

Totally Bonkers

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.

cemetery oaxaca

Zocalo festivities

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.

Day of the Dead festival 2012

This year's Day of the Dead festival takes place on the 1st and 2nd November in Oaxaca, just south of Mexico City in Mexico. Original Travel have a special offer when staying at the Las Ventanas al Paraíso. Visitors are able to stay 4 nights, but only pay for 3, until 18th December 2012.

For more information on bespoke travel to Mexico, contact Original Travel.