Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calavera (Skull) for Day of the Dead

A common symbol for Dia de los Muertos is calaveras or skulls. The artist for this detailed and bold skull is Augustin Galicia P. from Mexico.

Arizona has many local Day of the Dead celebrations in Guadalupe, Tucson, Phoenix, Mesa and more. I will go to one on Saturday. The Scottsdale arts scene features Mexican art, as well as Native American art, modern art, and more. Scottsdale has very diverse art galleries. Also, The Ranch markets here in the Valley have many Day of the Dead items, from sugar skulls to food and more.

Altars or Ofrendas include sugar skulls, orange marigolds (cempasuchil), pan de muerto which is egg bread made in many shapes, photos, memorabilia, and toys made of plaster paris or other materials that show skeletons (calacas) playing drums, riding bikes, or riding in cars. Families select those items to add to the alter that best symbolize what the person who passed on enjoyed doing or was known for doing. In this way, people remember that Uncle Ernie liked to play in a band or Aunt Maria liked to make tortillas. It is a great way to annually remember family members and friends who are no longer here.

Sometimes people might be taken aback by all of the skulls, but I found once I understood the symbolism, the history, and the joy in the celebration, I quite enjoy the life, spirit, and memories expressed in the skulls and skeletons.

16 comments:

brattcat said...

Gorgeous. It reminds me a bit of the tatoo work on the Maori.

Leif Hagen said...

Another awesome art article!

Layrayski said...

That is one cool art- worked calavera. We also call our skeleton (the whole bunch not just the skull) calabera.

Sharon said...

Beautifully crafted!

Thérèse said...

Like you are saying, once we understand what it is all about we appreciate this Day and these celebrations.

Halcyon said...

I'm not big on skulls, but this one is quite beautiful.

Jarart said...

Fantastic artwork!

Lois said...

Amazing piece Julie. A nice work of art!

Kate said...

Love it!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Special art quite different from ours!

Don and Krise said...

Not being very familiar with this tradition I have to admit it probably would take a little time to get used to it. I'm learning a bit more each day from your posts. Thanks Julie.

Tash said...

this is marvellous, Julie. You did soo well photographing it too.

Mo said...

Very intricate work. Love it.

glenda said...

The detail on this is really nice. Great information on "Day of Dead". Your pice from yeasterday was very informative.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I've heard so much about Dia de los Meurtos but never attended a celebration. What a marvelous experience the festivities must be!

ruma2008 said...

I am glad to have you watch the green of the Far East.
Thank you.

Happy Halloween to you.

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