“A handsome addition to the up to date literature on this Mexican phenomenon…. The photographs are magnificent…. This volume makes a valuable contribution to the study of both Mexican popular culture and the folk art it has produced. It can be timely, as one of the most interviewees laments the way U.S. Halloween customs are supplanting one of the vital traditional celebrations in urban centers such as Monterrey and the Federal District.” (Hispanic American Historical Review)
About the Author
Elizabeth Carmichael is curator of the Latin American collections of the British Museum.
In every single place Mexico, early in November, families gather to welcome the souls of the dead on their annual discuss with home. The smells of burning copal incense and pungent cempasúchil (marigolds) mingle with the aromas of fresh bread, new clothing, sweets, and candles. One of Mexico’s most important festivals since prehispanic times, the Day of the Dead is an occasion for celebrating and feasting, cleaning and decorating graves, dancing and making music.In this unique work, the authors explore both the historic origins of this holiday and its colorful present-day celebrations in Mexico and the USA. Interviews with Mexican artists and crafters who provide goods for the festival—from personalized sugar skulls to gigantic papier-mâché skeletons—offer an enchanting glimpse into traditional and recent attitudes toward death and the dead.Lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, The Skeleton on the Feast will be required reading for all who are interested in Mexican culture, art, and folklore.