Digging the Days of the Dead
A Reading of Mexico's Días De MuertoseBook - 1998
In Digging the Days of the Dead, Juanita Garciagodoy depicts various aspects of the 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, for instance, gender and class relations and identity politics. There is also an analysis of the struggle between the traditional holiday and Hallowe'en.
Garciagodoy 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.
Lavishly illustrated with 96 black and white photographs and reproductions of Posada's engravings, Digging the Days of the Dead is indispensible for scholars interested in Mexican religion and culture.