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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Thirty One: Interpreting cultural festivals -- Mexico’s Day of the Dead > Mask Toss, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, 2005
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Mask Toss, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, 2005

Mask Toss, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, 2005

I found this young fellow incongruously flipping Halloween masks around in a market and strewing the floor with them. His mother summarily ended the proceedings just after I made the picture. Halloween falls on October 31st. Mexico's Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 2nd. The two holidays are often confused with each other, and even celebrated jointly. Halloween is based on a European concept of death, and is populated by negative images of terror. The Day of The Dead is far different. It is a unique Indo-Hispanic custom demonstrating love and respect for one's ancestors, the continuance of life, and even finds humor in death -- all positive concepts. I include this image in this gallery because it speaks of the innocence of youth. The horrific masks, some of them associated with death, are toys, nothing more. In a way, this image expresses the essence of The Day of The Dead. It is a holiday that can turn the concept of death into life, through play and pleasure.

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Phil Douglis19-Nov-2005 04:09
Thanks, Christine. I am glad you enjoyed this gallery so much. I knew you would, because I know how important spirituality is to your own imagery, and the Day of the Dead is essentially a spiritual festival. It is not ironic that a festival of death should be so full of life, brilliance and color, because that is how Mexicans see this holiday. It is all about life within death. This image, as innocent as it seems, is about that same theme. The masks all symbolize death in various guises, but the child, in his innocence, only sees them as pleasure.
EB19-Nov-2005 03:45
This child seems to be used to masks and death quite young and the sacred or mystic aspect of death is absent here. This picture reminded me of the masks we see all over the place at Halloween time. The picture could have easily been taken here in Toronto. I noticed how much more Mexicans in general seem to celebrate that festival in a happy manner. Phil, I really like your whole gallery. It is so lively, bright and colourful! Christine
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