The Skeleton at the Feast: The Day of the Dead in Mexico

Paperback | January 1, 1991

byElizabeth Carmichael, Chloë Sayer

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All over Mexico, early in November, families gather to welcome the souls of the dead on their annual visit 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 United States. Interviews with Mexican artists and crafters who provide goods for the festival—from personalized sugar skulls to gigantic papier-mâché skeletons—offer a fascinating glimpse into traditional and contemporary attitudes toward death and the dead.

Lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, The Skeleton at the Feast will be required reading for all who are interested in Mexican culture, art, and folklore.

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From the Publisher

All over Mexico, early in November, families gather to welcome the souls of the dead on their annual visit 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 t...

Elizabeth Carmichael is curator of the Latin American collections of the British Museum.Chloë Sayer is the author of several books on Mexico.

other books by Elizabeth Carmichael

Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 10.84 × 8.63 × 0.49 inPublished:January 1, 1991Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292776586

ISBN - 13:9780292776586

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Map of Mexico Foreword by John Mack IntroductionPart IThe Day of the DeadThe Pre-Hispanic Background The Spanish ConquestTravellers' TalesThe Here and Now Part II: InterviewsIntroductionFredy Méndez, La Congregación del Tajín, State of VeracruzJuan Simbrón, La Congregación del Tajín, State of VeracruzFroylan Martinez Cuenca, Huaquechula, State of PueblaCandido Reyes Castillo, Huaquechula, State of PueblaLuis Vivanco, San Salvador Huixcolotla, State of PueblaConsuelo Garcia Urrutia, Toluca, State of MexicoWenceslao Rivas Contreras, Toluca, State of MexicoMaría Antonieta Sánchez de Escamilla, Puebla CityArsacio Vanegas Arroyo, Mexico CityVictor Fosado Vázquez, formerly Mexico CityAppendix: The Day of the Dead in Mixqui by Elizabeth Baquedano MezaNotes to Part I Notes to Part II Glossary BibliographyList of illustrations Index

Editorial Reviews

A handsome addition to the recent 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 may also be timely, as one of the interviewees laments the way U.S. Halloween customs are supplanting some of the traditional celebrations in urban centers such as Monterrey and the Federal District.