Saturday, October 30, 2010

DAY OF THE DEAD (Día de los Muertos)

Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated by many in Mexico and by some Mexican Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 2 in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Due to occurring shortly after Halloween, the Day of the Dead is sometimes thought to be a similar holiday, although the two actually have little in common. The Day of the Dead is a time of celebration, where partying and eating is common.

For Halloween this year I am being a 
Day of the Dead Skeleton or a "Calavera Catrina"
La Calavera Catrina ('The Elegant Skull') is a 1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada. The image has since become a staple of Mexican imagery, and often is incorporated into artistic manifestations of the Day of the Dead in November, such as altars and calavera costumes. The etching was part of his series of calaveras, which were humorous images of contemporary figures depicted as skeletons, which often were accompanied by a poem. The word catrina is the feminine form of the word catrín, which means "elegant". The figure, depicted in an ornate hat fashionable at the time, is intended to show that the rich and fashionable, despite their pretensions to importance, are just as susceptible to death as anyone else.

See more at Big Picture

Day of the Dead is an interesting tradition that honours dead loved ones by making alters for them often containing  favorite foods and beverages as well as photos and memorabilia of the departed.  The idea is to encourage visits from their souls so that they may directly hear their families'/friends' prayer to them.  The tone of the day is that of celebration not mourning and people often visit and decorate grave sights as well.  
The specifics of how to celebrate Day of the Dead differ from place to place in Mexico but the idea is the same and that is to celebrate the lives of those who have been loved and lost.
Sugar Skulls
Grave sight Alters
Photos by Becket Logan

All the different elements of the Day of the Dead celebrations; the sugar skulls, the marigolds, the skeletons, the bright colours...
All if this together makes for a surprisingly stunning aesthetic!
Its a beautiful combination of whimsy and CREEPY.... but in a good way...
a really good way :)

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