The Day of the Dead, the art and cultural phenomena, has gained recognition on this side of the border in recent years. Traditionally celebrated on November 1st & 2nd, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, this Mexican holiday is the combination of native pagan tradition and Catholic theology.
Although frequently called Mexico's Halloween, it has little in common with our celebration of ghouls and goblins. Rather Dia de los Muertos is an acknowledgement of the fact that death is a constant companion from birth, an accepted friend to be joked and played with, and the connection with all living things. It is a day of joyful remembrance and celebration of the lives of loved ones who have moved on to the next life.
The celebration, which varies regionally, generally consists of several weeks of preparation: parties, processions, and special meals during which the departed souls are remembered and invited to return. Candy, pan de muerto (sweet bread baked into skull and crossbones shapes), tamales, and other traditional foods are prepared and eaten. Altars or ofrendas adorned with marigolds, candles, favorite foods and drink, toys and other temptations are set up in homes and cemeteries to lure the departed back to Earth for a short visit and fiesta. Culminating in all night graveside vigils, a solemn gaiety pervades as the spirits mark their return and the people of Mexico once again acknowledge life's final party to which everyone gets an invitation.
Much of the popular art of the season originated as offerings and decoration placed on the altars and graves. Sugar skulls, skeleton dolls and other dead toys are the gentle teachers of children in the lessons of death and help them not fear its inevitability. In the early 20th century, artist Jose Guadalupe Posada began creating humorous lithographs and etchings of social and political figures as skeletons, or calaveras. His lithographs helped to secularize the Day of the Dead holiday and its art by putting calavera images into every day life settings and satirizing death as the ultimate common denominator, a tradition carried on by many modern day folk artists.
Embrace the rich traditions of our Mexican neighbors and enjoy your date with destiny through our collection of Day of the Dead folk art.
Mexican Day of the Dead Skeletons and Decorations