To Mary Andrade, Dia de los Muertos--Day of the Dead--is the essence of
life in Mexico. One of the most traditional and well-known holidays in Mexico, Day of the
Dead is celebrated throughout the country, from large cities to small villages, each in
its unique way, as Mexicans pay tribute to death and their departed ancestors
Andrade began her voyage of discovery about the Day of the Dead while working on a
research project in Janitzio, Michoacan, in 1987. She fell in love with the celebration
and Day of the Dead has now become her passion. Each year, she travels to a different
region of Mexico to collect information and make photographs of this unique celebration.
What sets Andrade's book series apart from any other writing on this subject is her
photographs vivid images full of compassion and love for Mexico and its people. In
them, the reader encounters not only the ofrendas, the decorative altars that make
this Mexican holiday famous, but also the festive clothing and accessories that reflect
the color and meaning of the day. Andrade also captures the celebration through the faces
of countless Mexicans and their families in their most sacred hourin communion with
their friends, relatives and deceased loved ones that helped create the life they now
Each book opens with a history of the Day of the Dead in that particular region and
goes on to weave a tapestry of culture, history and sociological insight through its text
and spectacular photographs.
She explains not only how but why each region of Mexico honors the memory of its
deceased in a unique way. She shows the colors, foods, and artistic decorations of each
region, even though each of these celebrations have the same roots. Her photographs, each
composed with a sensitive, artistic eye, show the reader the rich traditions of this
holiday as they're tied to the Mexican soul.
These books come as close as any can to providing a window into Mexican life. Anyone
fascinated with Mexico in general and the Day of the Dead in particular, will enjoy
reading these books again and again.