drink, dance, music as well as other aspects of the state's rich and diverse customs and rituals which in many cases date back millenia. Oaxaca is the southern Mexico state noted for its boundless cultural traditions.
San Martín Tilcajete, one of the three main woodcarving villages in the state, is located about a 40 minute drive from the state capital, Oaxaca de Juárez, easily accessed by heading out of the city by bus, colectivo or private transportation along Highway 175 towards the popular Friday market city of Ocotlán de Morelos. The festivities take places at the entrance to the village, clearly marked alongside Azucena Zapoteca, a restaurant owned by the family of renowned artisans Jacobo Ángeles and María del Carmen Mendoza.
The entertainment begins at 9 am the 25th, with a calenda (a colorful parade with live music and dancing women decked out in traditional regional dress) followed by a representation of the village's
Each day there will be traditional Día de los Muertos alters, adorned with marigolds and pico de gallo flowers and encircled with arches of sugarcane; live band and woodwind music; and stalls selling
alebrijes (carved and brilliantly painted fanciful wooden figures), cotton and wool textiles, pottery and other crafts representative of the state. And of course there will be complimentary samples of mexcal, Oaxaca's famed spirit, along with plenary sessions illustrating how it can be combined with traditional Oaxacan cuisine so as to bring out the best in the flavors and aromas of each.
The closing ceremonies begin at 7 pm the 3rd, with dinner, live music, and a dance troupe performing a colorful Guelaguetza, the uniquely Oaxacan ritual which celebrates the diversity of the
state's 16 indigenous cultures.
Alvin Starkman co-owns Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast with his wife Arlene, and Oaxaca Culinary Tours with Chef Pilar Cabrera. Alvin regularly takes visitors to this event, as well as to other towns and villages in Oaxaca’s central valleys to learn about a diversity of cultural
traditions, including mezcal and pulque production.