Over 1000 costume lovers paraded through Morelia in Mexico yesterday dressed as the cultural icon of death, La Calavera Catrina. Held on the first day of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), families, friends and foreigners flooded the city’s streets for the second year running to see the spectacular congregation of elegant skeletons march towards the central Cathedral.
“Death is democratic, because in the end, the mother, the brunette, the rich or the poor, all the people end up being skulls” – José Guadalupe Posada
La Calavera Catrina was an illustration created by the Mexican political print maker Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). Published in local papers the early 1910’s at the start of the Mexican Revolution, the elegant looking skeleton was designed to mock Mexico’s Euro-centric elite, who were believed to be abandoning their indigenous heritage by starting to emulate the fashions and mannerisms of Europeans from Paris and London.
Today La Catrina has been fully absorbed into Mexico’s annual festival of the dead and can be seen on everything from t-shirts to porcelain dolls, reminding everyone that no matter how beautiful we are on the outside, we will all end up looking the same in the grave.
The costume is traditionally characterized by painting ones face and body as a skeleton before dressing in turn of the century tailoring (for men) or elegant evening wear (for women) but today a combination of contemporary fashions and ethnic mexican styles have also been incorporated.
Have you been to Mexico for Day of the Dead? Where is your favorite destination to experience the festival? Please share your experiences, ideas and suggestions in the comments box below.
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