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Day of the Dead: A Sampler of Books

El Día de los Muertos is a holiday in Mexico, also observed to a lesser extent in other areas of Latin America and in the United States, honoring dead loved ones and making peace with the eventuality of death by treating it familiarly, without fear and dread. The holiday is derived from the rituals of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Mexico. Led by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as "Lady of the Dead," the celebration lasted a month. After the Spanish arrived in Mexico and began converting the native peoples to Roman Catholicism , the holiday was moved to coincide with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

Source: Britannica Online

Día de Muertos en México, OaxacaDía de Muertos en México, Oaxaca

Presented in English and Spanish, this book includes over 95 color photographs and essays on the All Saints Day Altar and Biquies, tombs,  artisan works, rituals, costumes, and favorite foods used to express the continued connection felt between living families and their deceased.

Mahoney Library: GT 4995.A4 A55 2002




Day Of The Dead:Day of The Dead: When Two Worlds Meet In Oaxaca

For many of the people of southern Mexico, the influence El Día de Muertos has on their lives is immeasurable. It affects everything they do and has an impact on the way they see themselves and the world. This book examines the culture of the people of Oaxaca, outlines in detail the preparations made for Day of the Dead observences, and highlights the private and public celebrations.

Doyle and Mahoney Libraries: GT4995.A4 H35 2004b





Digging the Days of the DeadDigging the Days of the Dead

The author depicts various aspects of the Day of the Dead celebration - including PreHispanic and Spanish Catholic traces on its development as well as folk and popular culture versions - and describes its changing place in contemporary Mexico. She dedicates two chapters to close readings of calaveras, figures and scenes of 'lively' skeletons that reveal details of popular philosophy about gender and class relations and identity politics. There is also an analysis of the struggle between the traditional holiday and Halloween. The book examines in detail differences in attitudes towards death in Mexico and the United States. In part because the living do not exclude the dead from their family circle, celebrants of Dias de muertos treat death as an intimate life companion and fear it less than their northern counterparts, who tend to view death as inimical. It is indispensible for scholars interested in Mexican religion and culture.

E-book. Student ID and PIN required for off-campus access.


DDay of the Dead in the USAay of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon

This book is about the power of cultural ritual to serve as a medium of political communication, and about the role of cultural hybridity in reconciling feelings of social and cultural displacement, fragmentation, and negation. It is also a story of the key roles played by the mass media and commercial forces in creating, promoting, and maintaining “traditions.” The celebration of Day of the Dead is internationally associated with Mexico. Although assumed to be a timeless ritual that has been seamlessly passed down within Mexican families since precolonial times, it is actually a relatively recent tradition for many Mexicans. Festivities in the United States, the focus of this book, are also recent.

E-Book. SRJC ID and PIN required for off campus access.


The Days of the Dead: Mexico's Festival of Communion with the Departed

The Days of the DeadA journey within Mexico's traditional holiday honoring departed ancestors, friends, and family. Each aspect of the multiday festival is carefully explored, from the journey to the cemeteries to spruce up neglected gravesites to the lively marketplace selling breads and candies in the shapes of skulls and skeletons and finally, the peaceful vigil as friends and families crowd the cemeteries to await the arrival of their loved ones through the long night. San Francisco-based photographer John Greenleigh traveled to small towns in Mexico in four different years to document this extraordinary festival. Accompanied by text by cultural scholar Rosalind Rosoff Beimler, the pictures speak eloquently to a ritual that is at once mocking and respectful of death -- and ultimately affirming of human life.

Doyle Library: GT 4995.A4 G74 1998




El Corazón de la MuerteEl Corazón de la Muerte: Altars and Offerings for Days of the Dead

This is a dual-language book with text in English and Spanish. This is an art book that presents the colorful and magical altars and shrines built to honor the dead in the old Mexican tradition. The Oakland Museum has invited artists to create these every year for the last ten years and the wonderful collection here is the best of the best in full-color photographs. The gathering is now a major cultural event that attracts thousands each year..

Mahoney Library: GT 4995.A4 C67 2005