How three days of celebration feed me visually
Written by Ana Lilia Pacheco
With music, food, and drinks, the natives of Tlacolula de Matamoros arrive at the cemeteries 20 days after the Day of the Dead to visit the deceased relatives. The living family coexist and celebrate three days in a row with their dead relatives.
"If our dead relatives visit us on the Day of the Dead at our homes, now we must visit them at the cemetery on the day of Los Responsos," says graphic artist Daniel Hernandez.
According to tradition, the festivities begin with a religious mass reading prayer called "Los Responsos," which is the last prayer of the dead's liturgy. It is prayed for the person who has died. Once they complete the mass, the go party to the cemetery.
"If our dead relatives visit us on the Day of the Dead at our homes, now we must visit them at the cemetery on the day of Los Reposos”
The scenes of family and friends gathering together, dancing the classic "Norteñas" (regional music from northern Mexico), enjoying a tlayuda, and drinking mezcal next to the tombstones, inspire the artist, who has fond memories of Los Responsos.
"I am very grateful at how people hold to this tradition. Perhaps it is the party environment or maybe the theme of death. Although tragic, it is still a celebration in the culture of Oaxaca," says Hernandez.
As an artist, he is inspired by all the scenes he observes in the cemetery, such as the annual traditions, the family and friends gatherings, as well as the drunks speaking frankly and with no reservations.
"The three days of celebration feed me visually"
"The three days of celebration feed me visually. For us artists, everything is visual food; a bombardment of images that feed us creativity".
Hernandez considers the concept of death as an important piece and structure for his artistic creations. "I am attracted to the idea of death as something dark and beautiful; it has a very particular meaning for me," says the artist.