Friday, August 30, 2013

Celebration of Life; The Day of the Dead - Oaxaca City, Mexico

“The word death is not pronounced in New York, in Paris, in London, because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it, it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love." - Octavio Paz, a native of Mexico and winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in literature

El Dia del Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is popular celebration throughout Latin America, especially in Mexico. I know zombies are the flavor of the month in today’s popular culture, but that is not what this celebration is about.

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday and is celebrated throughout Mexico. Family and friends get together to pray and remember their loved ones who have passed away. This is not a time of mourning, but rather it is a joyful celebration of life, food, friends and family.

The history of the Day of the Dead is a syncretism of Pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs. The celebration takes place on November 1–2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2).

In the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico I was able to take in the sights, sounds and smiles of the Day of the Dead.

On the days leading up to November 1 and 2 (along with celebrating the Catholic holidays, on the 1st, people celebrate the lives of lost children, and on the 2nd they celebrate the spirits of adults) many parties erupt on the streets of Oaxaca. This is another Day of the Dead tradition called Comparsas which is a carnival-like procession of people in costume, dancing and wild music accompanied by a banda band (think Mexican Polka music).

In the morning, young children, dressed in costumes, parade around town on their way to school. These children comparsas circle around the town’s zocalo (public square) which makes for a vibrant public spectacle.

Of course I was not merely a spectator for this spirited celebration, I jumped right in with the comparsa! I took this photo of this young girl at a close distance since I had my Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II prime lens. Zooming with your feet and not with your lens barrel can yield some spectacular results.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

Facebook | Google + | Twitter | Pinterest | Photography Blog | Travel Photography Gallery