Baker & Taylor Explains what All Souls' Day is, describes the rituals and customs practiced on this day in Oaxaca de Juâarez, Mexico, and includes photographs of decorated altars, people's homes, food, and gifts that express the sorrow and joy of the festival.
Texas A & M Univ
The people of Oaxaca, Mexico, believe the souls of the dead, the antepasados, return every year for a twenty-four-hour visit. They are welcomed into their former homes with gaily decorated altars and offerings of food and gifts. Then they are escorted back to their resting places in the cemeteries. In recent years, Dia de los Muertos has become widely known not only throughout Mexico but also in the United States, drawing tourists in large numbers.
Since 1993, photographer Denis Defibaugh and author Ward Albro have visited the festivals, both in Oaxaca City and in the smaller villages, where customs marking this passage have evolved over generations. They have been welcomed into people’s homes and have taken part in the public festivals. In this beautiful book, Defibaugh’s photography catches the essence of the people and their celebration, while Albro’s text supplies background understanding of the beliefs and practices of the observance.
The Day of the Dead book expresses the joy, sorrow, and ritual of the many public celebrations of the festival. Defibaugh’s quiet, subtle perceptions distinguish his photographic vision. His approach is to perceive, compose, and capture all the visual elements and fit the analogous body language and facial expressions into his images. Albro’s illuminating personal essay introduces the Muertos culture of the people of Oaxaca.