A Review of Day of the Dead: A Passion for Life by Mary J. Andrade
Reviewed by Rickey E. Pittman, Sept. 2013.
This bilingual book is a must for anyone who has interest in the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico. In approximately 200 pages, Mary Andrade leads you in word and pictures through the various sections of Mexico and the varied ways the feast is celebrated.
The introduction by Eduardo Merlo Juárez sets a wonderful tone and he claims that Andrade’s “work is a complete chronicle for generations to come.”
In her Foreword, Andrade says, the “Day of the Dead in Mexico is not a mournful commemoration, but a happy and colorful celebration where death takes a lively friendly expression . , The belief that the soul comes back every year to be honored by family, for some as butterflies and for others as invisible spirits is a legacy brought down by ancient civilizations . . . . After experiencing Day of the Dead one usually returns home changed.”
This is a book rich in historical details, food, rituals, legends, religion, family testimony, and illustrated with poetry by Julie Sopetran. There is an elegant vocabulary belonging only to the Day of the Dead. As a storyteller and folksinger, I work often the Rio Grande Valley, and every October, my thoughts go to this special time and I contemplate the differences between this feast and our own Halloween.