Monday, February 4, 2013

Day of the Dead in Xoxocotlan Cemetery, Oaxaca, Mexico 2012

I am still processing the photos from my amazing time in photographing the most Mexican holidays, El Dia del Muertos or The Day of the Dead, in Oaxaca City.

The Mexican people believe that the spirits of the dead come back to visit the living on earth, usually this occurs on the 1 and 2 of November and on these nights and others, many families gather in local cemeteries to celebrate the dead. They cover the gravesites with colorful flowers and thousands of candles. Many generations within a family sit around the gravesite and have a party for dead family members. They eat their favorite foods, drink mescal, a liquor made from the agave cactus, and they sing while the mariachis play the deceased’s favorite songs.

Just outside of Oaxaca City is Xoxocotlan Cemetery where you can truly experience The Day of the Dead festivities. On the night of October 31, many local families begin their nightly vigils in this small cemetery, that is densely packed, as they sit by the tombs and wait for the return of the spirits.

I stood off in the distance observing this family before I approached them and asked permission to take a photo.

“¿Photo, por favor?”

The two gentlemen responded with a nod of approval all the while the two young ladies were completely unaware of my presence since they had their complete attention towards their cell phones and texting as fast as their fingers would allow.

Finally, the older gentlemen on the left started to speak of their deceased relatives and the two young ladies quickly put away their cell phones and gave him their undivided attention.

Of all the photographs I took that evening this one happens to be my favorite. This photograph embodies the essence of El Dia del Muertos with the portrayal of generations of families coming together as one to celebrate, learn and respect the spirits of their deceased relatives.

Photographed with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS lens at 6400 ISO using just the ambient light of the surrounding candles.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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