La Calavera Catrina (Elegant Skull) is a 1910–1913 zinc etching by the Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer José Guadalupe Posada. La Catrina has become an icon of the Mexican Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The Mexican Revolution gave birth to La Catrina, an image created by the talented engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada that satirized the government, the governing, and the ruling class. The original name for "La Catrina" was actually La Calavera Garbancera, a name that the working class and poor used to refer to Mexicans who held their native heritage in contempt and made every attempt to pass as Europeans. The skeletal resemblance came from the propensity to wear very pale makeup, in an effort to whiten the skin. Posada's creation was the simple head shot with an ornate aristocratic French hat. Credit for changing her name is given to Diego Rivera, who took the hat-adorned head of Garbancera and gave her a full body, completely dressed in elegant clothing.
Her debut can be seen today in Mexico City on the preserved mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central ("Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park") at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera. This revered display of Rivera's art is laden with much symbolism, innuendo and legend.
La Catrina has always represented the disparity between the classes of Mexico and as much as there are those who claim things have changed, the reverence to this symbol only succeeds to point out how things have truly remained the same. Before the revolution, the rich enjoyed many privileges completely unavailable to those with less money. Though there is much more visibility of the lower classes in current times, poverty is still a huge political issue and daily wages remain at amazingly low levels.
Source: Banderas News
We Mexicans feel much more alive during the Days of the Dead, every 1st and 2nd of November as years pass.
The living are always in need, the dead have too much of everything: altars in their honor are put up in homes and cemeteries and decorated with purple and orange cut paper, taper candles and incense, sugar paste candies and flowers such as cempasuchil -marigolds, the flower of the dead-, terciopelo, nubes and carnations.
The deceased are offered food made by the living, like tamales, mole and candied pumpkin, and beverages such as atole (a corn flour drink), pulque (fermented maguey juice) and spirits. Included in the offering, placed beside the deceased's photograph, are cigarettes, seasonal fruit, a water jug and a wash bowl - so the souls can cleanse themselves -, as well as the traditional bread of the dead, delicious sugar coated loaves of bread decorated with bones and tears made out of the same dough. When the altar is removed at the end of the celebrations, the food will have lost its smell and taste: the souls that have been summoned will be nourished on the food's essence.
On the altars for the dead children -the little deceased- there are also toys made out of wood, cardboard, clay or plastic. Thus, the departed ones who visit us on these days will quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger and their spirit.
Paths of marigold petals are laid out so the dead can find their way back home and votive candles are lit for every soul. During the Days of the Dead, the characteristic smell of marigold and the aroma of incense and copal fill the night's atmosphere.
Read more about Day of the Dead here.
Given the broad spectrum of activities surrounding Day of the Dead, it seems ironic that a celebration about death brings so much life to our city, with events for visitors and locals alike where tradition, music, gastronomy, dance, art and folklore take center stage.
Most Day of the Dead festivities take place in Puerto Vallarta’s El Centro, with activities scheduled to begin October 29 and continue until November 2. During those days, you will be able to enjoy live performances and other attractions that will allow you to experience this age-old Mexican tradition. Neighborhood streets are dressed with special decorations that include catrinas, papel picado (perforated paper), and Day of the Dead altars, which is why we strongly recommend you take the time to explore the area.
During the entire celebration, Parque Hidalgo (one block from the Malecón’s north end) becomes the stage for folkloric dance performances, traditional music, plays and death-related storytelling. Parque Lázaro Cárdenas (in colonia Emiliano Zapata) and Puerto Vallarta’s main plaza are other venues where a variety of events are scheduled, along with the display of special altars commemorating important personalities. The Municipal Market (next to the Río Cuale bridge on Insurgentes street) is a must-visit spot for those looking to purchase traditional Day of the Day bread and other edibles.
Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón is another important venue, with a not-to-be-missed catrina parade that starts at Hotel Rosita and continues all the way to Los Muertos Pier.
Source: Vallarta Lifestyles
This year's Day of the Dead festival, set to take place on Friday, November 2 from 7:00-11:00 pm, will also include a Calavera decorating contest to raise money for the library.
To keep one of Mexico's oldest traditions alive, every year, Los Mangos Library and Cultural Center hosts a Día de Los Muertos festival, where Puerto Vallarta residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of free family-friendly activities that range from singing, dancing, music and storytelling, to an altar display, art exhibits, a Catrin and Catrina contest, and more.
Here's how it works:
• Stop by Los Mangos, where you will receive one plaster skull for each $150 peso donation.
• Give it Life! - Paint it, decorate it, turn it into your favorite character!
• Bring it back to the library on or before October 25th and fill out a contest entry form.
• Your decorated Calavera will be exhibited in the library, where visitors will be able to buy votes for their favorites until November 2.
• Ballots can be purchased at the library reception desk for two pesos per vote. To be counted, the votes must be deposited in the urn next to your favorite skull.
• Visitors can vote for their favorite skulls as many times as they wish.
• Voting will close at 8:00 pm on November 2. The votes will be counted and the winner will be announced during the library's traditional Day of the Dead Festival.
• Calavera Contest participants must be present to be declared a winner.
• Any controversy will be resolved by the festival organizing committee.
Source: Banderas News
From October 31st through November 4th, Velas Resorts in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit will be celebrating El Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), considered to be one of the most representative holidays of Mexican culture.
The resorts will each create a bright and colorful Altar de Muerto (altar for the dead) decorated with all the traditional ornaments, from marigolds, ash, salt, food, and water, to ceramic Catrinas and sugar skulls. In addition to the ofrendas, the resorts will also have staff dressed as Catrinas, and Calaveritas (little skulls) decorations throughout, as well as activities for guests to experience the Mexican culture and history of the holiday.
Velas Vallarta invites guests to decorate La Catrina masks as well as ceramic sugar skulls for the temporary altars placed at the resort. Additionally, La Catrina and clay and ceramic Sugar Skull art from Jalisco, the state in which Velas Vallarta is located, and Michoacán, the preeminent place for handicrafts in the country, will be available for purchase.
The Casa Velas adults-only boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta will deliver traditional Pan de Muertos November 2nd as an added amenity in the suite and serve pan de muerto with traditional Mexican hot chocolate at its fine dining Emiliano Restaurant. The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit resort will host a Catrina Contest where the staff from different departments dress up like a Catrina before making a tour through the guest areas of the hotel. At the end, guests vote for the winner.
In addition to all of this, Velas Vallarta will feature one of the biggest "Altar de Muerto" in Marina Vallarta at 40 sq. ft., and all three Banderas Bay area Velas resorts will sponsor giant Catrinas along the Malecón in downtown Puerto Vallarta. The papier mache Catrinas, traditional in the state of Jalisco, are being made by Tourism and Hospitality Management students at the University of Guadalajara's Centro Universitario de la Costa.
Source: Banderas News