Happy Day of the Dead!

2 November 2012

My obsession with Coraline, Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo  all wrapped up into one one holiday: Mexico’s most popular and iconic celebration, El Día de los Muertos or “The Day of the Dead.”

Today marks the second day of  the annual celebration and remembrance for those that have departed.  This is not all doom + gloom, it’s a bright, colorful holiday and truly a celebration of life, as many in this culture believe life really begins after death.

“La Calvera Catrina” is the iconic character that symbolizes The Day of the Dead.  You’ve probably seen her skinny ass before, she’s the foxy little skeletal number with feathers cascading out of a big velvet hat.

I am particularly fond of Catrina, you could call it a girl-crush. Catrina symbolizes so much more than just the festival.  Created by José Guadalupe Posada in the early 1900’s as part of a series of illustrations used as metaphors for the corrupt elitist class.  Depicted as a skull, adorned with blooming flowers, feathers and bows her illustration was drawn as a direct criticism, against the women of the time who were obsessed with the extravagance of European culture.  Fun fact: the origin “La Calvera Catrina” actually comes from the feminine form of “catrin” which means “dandy.”  In other words,  someone who pretends to be a part of an aristocratic lifestyle even though they come from  humble middle-class backgrounds. Sound familiar?

“Catrina has come to symbolize not only El Día de los Muertos and the Mexican willingness to laugh at death itself. Death brings this neutralizing force; everyone is equal in the end. Sometimes people have to be reminded.”  David de la Torre, Curator at the San Francisco Mexican Museum.

I suppose what Mr. Posada was saying is that despite all the blooming flowers, plumes + beauty we eventually all end up as dust.  Celebrate today, thank you La Calvera Catrina for the reminder. “Viva. La. Catrina”

This song will kick it off: Seye “Mexicana Bounce ”


original illustration of La Calvera Catrina by José Guadalupe Pos




Featured Image by Lila Solorzano.

Categories: Art, girl crush, women | 1 Comment

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