The Day of the Dead is a memorial holiday celebrated exuberantly throughout Latin America, where it is referred to in Spanish as "El Dia de los Muertos." It is often wrongly associated with Halloween because of its observance on the first and second of November, and frequently viewed as macabre or sinister. But far from being dark and scary, it is a happy time of remembering. Families gather at the cemetery to clean up, decorate, freshen flowers, picnic, and reminisce about the lives of the loved ones who have gone beyond. Skeletons, or calaveras playfully represent the dear departed as they lived; dancing, feasting, and loving life.
A popular symbol of the Day of the Dead, is a stylishly dressed turn-of-the century female skeleton known as "La Calavera Catrina." She was originally created in 1910 as a caricature of a rich woman of Mexican society by print maker Jose Guadalupe Posada. Using cartoon-like images, his political satire was easily communicated to the mostly illiterate populace of early 20th century Mexico. La Catrina has come to represent a willingness to laugh at death. Her flamboyant hat and elegant gown lead us to believe that she is a woman of substantial wealth, but even her vast fortune will not enable her to escape her inevitable end.
Within these web pages, you will find an abundance of Day of the Dead folk art, some functional, all of it festive and fun. From retablos to ceramic Catrinas, to carved wooden skulls, to Gorkey Gonzales dinnerware with painted skeleton figures, there is much to add to Day of the Dead celebrations of your own.