Day of the Dead

img_0949-scaled1000In Oaxaca, the Guelaguetza Festival and all the fairs have come to an end for this year.  We have had a summer full of color, music, art and food. It is such an amazing time of year.

But coming up next in Oaxaca is the Day of the Dead!  At the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, we will have the “Day of the Dead Course 2016”.   We are going to have a lot of special activities and celebrations, please, read on for further details.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 1st and 2nd is an example of the relationship between Christianity and pre-historic traditions and is one of the most colorful and most time-honored holidays in Mexico. Although Dia de los Muertos is nationally recognized, Oaxaca has become known for its traditionally rich celebrations to honor the return of their dead.

Preparations for the Day of the Dead begin at least a week before the festival. It is believed that on the last day of October the souls of children who have passed away come to visit the altars. November 2nd is reserved for adults. It is an old belief that the dead, after their long pilgrimage from the other life, arrive on earth tired and thirsty. To nourish these souls, offerings of candles, flowers and traditional Oaxacan food is placed on the altars.

Altar de muertos del Instituto Cultural Oaxaca

Las señales que guían a nuestros difuntos.

In villages outside the city of Oaxaca, the celebration of Muertos is most commonly known as Todos Santos, or All Saints. This day is often the most celebrated day of the year. Altars, both in homes and cemeteries are honored by all. In local cemeteries you will find the graves wonderfully decorated with candles, flowers and food. During this time the living join together to rejoice the return of their ancestors. During the afternoon of November 1st many Comparsas (parades) take place, which represent and celebrate the return of the dead. Experiencing these parades and visiting cemeteries and homes enables you to enjoy the richness of this celebration and experience for yourself, the cultural importance of the festivals.

You will find that there is much to see and do in the city of Oaxaca and in the surrounding villages during the celebrations. For this reason, we offer you the opportunity to partake in a number of different tours to villages, but also encourage you to stay in the city and absorb the atmosphere. This freedom enables you to immerse yourself in the celebrations and also discover on your own the wonders this culturally rich time in Oaxaca presents.

Our Day of the Dead – Main Program, beginning on Monday, October 24th to Friday, November 4th, includes the following: 

Grammar and activity based classes from 9am – 12pm.

Instructor guided conversation classes from 12pm – 1pm.

Intercambio (a language exchange with someone from the community) in the afternoon. 

Cultural workshops from 4pm – 6pm; the workshops we offer during the Day of the Dead are seasonal and we do not offer our regular workshops during this program. You will be able to choose from a traditional mask making workshop, or a specialized Day of the Dead cooking class. 

We also host a private comparsa (parade), on Tuesday 1st, with our students, which includes a live band, mezcal, hot chocolate, and special Day of the Dead bread.

Additionally, we offer 3 tours to a number of cemeteries and celebrations in the city during the weekend of October 30th; to give students the opportunity to experience in person the number of ways that various populations in Oaxaca celebrate the Day of the Dead. 

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Viernes de Vocabulario: Hacer & Satisfacer – To Do & To Satisfy

In Spanish as in English the verb Satisfacer has different meanings depending on the context

  • To pay a debt entirely 
  • To do something that deserves the forgiveness of a punishment
  • To calm an apettite, a passion, etc.
  • To make happy
  • To gratify to the full
  • To put an end to a doubt or an uncertianty 
  • To convince

On the other hand the verb Hacer in Spanish can be used as To Do or To Make. For instance in English you say make your bed, make dinner or do the homework and in Spanish Haces tu cama, haces la cena, or haces la tarea. The verb hacer can be used either way as To Do or as To Make. 

Satisfacer is an irregular verb and it is conjugated just like the verb Hacer, so in Spanish it is not apropriate to say satisfará not satisfacerá which is a common mistake amongst Spanish speakers. 

Below you can find some innapropriate forms of the verb Satisfacer that it is possible to find on the press or in media or the day to day life among native spanish speakers: 

Satisfací instead of Satisfice 
Satisficiera instead of Satisficiera
Satisfacería instead of Satifaría
Satisfacerá instead of Satisfará

It looks very difficult right? but if you think about it, It is very easy, It is just like conjugating the verb Hacer which is more used in Spanish than the verb Satisfacer 

Present Tense              
Yo Hago – Satisfago
Haces – Satisfaces
Él Hace – Satisface
Nosotros Hacemos – Satisfacemos
Ustedes/Ellos Hacen – Satisfacen

Past Tense
Yo Hice – Satisfice
Hiciste – Satisfaciste
Él  Hizo – Satisfizo
Nosotros Hicimos – Satifacimos
Ustedes/Ellos Hicieron – Satisfacieron

Both verbs Satisfacer and Hacer are conjugated in the same way except in the imperative form which is congujated as follows

Satisface o Satisfaz  
Usted  Satisfaga 

For more information about the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca or Spanish Language Courses please visit or email ICO at

iPad, Apps & Spanish Lessons…

At the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca last summer we introduced the revolutionary iPad to our Spanish language classes and since then, our teachers have been working very hard to implement this new technology to our programs.


Here are 5 things we have done to incorporate the iPad to our Spanish Classes



#1 Trainning – An Apple Distinguished Educator trainned our teachers on how to incoporate technology to the Spanish Language Classroom. During this trainning, our teachers were provided with the necessary tools so that they can use all of the resources available online to incorporate digital materials to our classes. 


#2 We Remodeled our Program. 

In order to include technology in our Spanish Language Courses we changed the whole program to make it more functional and adaptable to exercices which included technology. For example, now with our new program, we can use Social Applications like Facebook or Linkedin so that our students can build their own profiles in Spanish which can be used for personal and profesional purposes.

#3 We Created a Wiki

Wikis are great to share and collaborate online with collegues and students. For so, we stared using a wiki in which all of our teachers work together on our new program or developing new materials that can be accesible by other teachers at different times. 


#4 Discover new tools & Share information 

Since technology can be overwhealming and very distractive, we continue trainning our teachers every week. Since we started to use  technology in the Spanish language classroom, our teachers get together on a weekly basis to share new tools and ideas. 

During these weekly meetings our teacher Angeles Castellanos show us how she uses TripAdvisor as a tool that can be a great help for an excersice in which the student needs to learn how to obtain information about a product of a service related to tourism – The app of TripAdvisor. It is excellent for beginner students to explore what are the local attractions. For advance students, it can be usefull to teach them to write a review in Spanish using past tense and new adjectives.



#5 Create New Materials 

Apart from using resources available on the internet with the iPad, now we can use our own digital materials. With iMovie we can incorporate pieces of movies or songs into excersices for our Spanish Classes. Two great applications that can be used to create new materials are iBooks (Developed by apple) and Moglue


Other apps used by our teachers in their Spanish Language Classes are

– Pages, Keynote, MicPro, Superama, Brain Pop, iCal, Maps, Evernote etc. 


For more information about the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca or Spanish Classes in Oaxaca please visit


8 best Spanish study abroad programs in Latin America | Matador Network

Matadorian Camden Luxford gives her picks for where to study Spanish in Latin America. 

When I first started looking for Spanish schools to attend in Latin America, I was blown away by the difficulty of the decision.

I weighed a million factors from the school’s reputability and accreditation to local cost of living and even the number of gringos whom might distract me from the language at hand.

Now that I’ve lived over a year in the region, the decision doesn’t seem so overwhelming any more – I just wish I was starting from scratch again to enjoy the amazing programs on offer!


Full Story at



For more information about our Spanish Language Immersion Programs visit

Oaxaca: the perfect year-round destination to Study Spanish


Oaxaca, situated in the south east of Mexico with a significant share of coast line on the Pacific Ocean, is one of those fantastic year-round destinations. An average temperature of 75F/25C makes Oaxaca the perfect year-round destation to Learn Spanish, there really isn’t bad time to come!


Here is a list of popular Oaxaca attractions through the year  to check out, whether you’re here summer or winter:


  • The Guelagueza Festival – This popular summer cultural festival of Folklore, music, art and gastronomy sets apart from the traditional dances of the Guelaguetza
  • Hike or Bike – The Sierra Norte of Oaxaca is the perfect place to scape during the weekend to hit the slops. There are wide-open, well-groomed runs for beginners and challenging or less-groomed for experts.
  • Teotitlan del Valle Annual Festival – In this traditional Cultural Festival,  you can enjoy and be witness of one of the most expressive folkloric dances of Oaxaca “La danza del Pluma,” participate in the annual Tamale fair and enjoy one of the most important festivals in the central valleys of Oaxaca


The best of all seasons to be in Oaxaca, not too hot and the rain season ends on early October letting you to enjoy the best evenings of the year and the best celebration of all Oaxacan Celebrations!

  • Day of the Dead or “Día de los Muertos” – The most time-honored and expressive holiday of Oaxaca. Although “Día de los Muertos”  is known all over Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for it’s ornately rich celebrations venerating the return of their deceased loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. During this time of the year at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca apart from teaching Spanish we focus our culture classes on this season and students participate in our Mask Making workshop to use in our annual “comparsa”


  • Posadas – A nine-day celebration with origins in Spain, now celebrated chiefly in Mexico, beginning on December 16th and ending on the 24th. Every Year at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca we celebrate our annual “posada” in which we sing Christmas carols (Villancicos) and students, homestay families and children break different the piñatas made in our Piñata making workshop that takes place during the Spanish Program of December


  • Night of the Radishes – Noche de Rabanos – A unique Oaxacan expression of the Christmas season takes places on December 23rd. Since 1897 takes places in the “zócalo”


  • Cuaresma – Lent –  is a wonderful time to come to Oaxaca! What it is Day of the Dead in the fall, it is “Viernes de Dolores” or “Friday of Sorrows” during lent. During this season you can enjoy all the festivities around this wonderful season that starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter! – During Easter is the perfect time to visit the different markets on the valley of Oaxaca, since they are provide all Oaxacans with flowers, sweets and all the ingredients for the celebrations. They are also a key component of the season!

Always is a wonderful time to come to the Oaxaca and sit at the Zocalo and enjoy the refreshing shadows of the “laurales de la india” which are not from India, but from “the indias” which back at the time of the discovery of America is where the Spanish believed they had arrived to.

For more information about the Spanish Program of the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca visit:

Enjoy the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca while you Study Spanish

Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos 

Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is the most time-honored and expressive holiday of Oaxaca . 

Although Día de los Muertos is recognized in all over Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for it’s ornately rich celebrations venerating the return of their deceased loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. 

At the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca you can partake in the Day of the Dead Festivities while you take our Main Program that includes 20 hours of Spanish Classes, intercambios, Cultural Workshops in arts, crafts and culture that during this season focus on the Day of the Dead art

For more information about visit the following link Day of the Dead Spanish Language Program in Oaxaca 

Below you can find a video in which you can get a Glance of what is like to participate in our Day of the Dead (dia de los muertos) Program at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca