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Da de Los Muertos (THE DAY OF THE DEAD)

Updated on October 30, 2012

DAY OF THE DEAD

The Day of the Dead, also known as El Día de los Muertos or All Souls' Day, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 1st and 2nd in connection with the Catholic holiday of All Saints' Day which occurs on November 1st and All Souls' Day which occurs on November 2nd. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years, and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl.

The Art of Guadalupe Posada

"Gran calavera elctrica" (Grand electric skull) "Print shows large skeleton hypnotizing a group of skulls and a sitting skeleton; an electric streetcar, with skeletons as passengers, is in the background." "1 print on white fabric : relief etching ; 21.4 34 cm. (sheet)." Created by Jos Guadalupe Posada

Jos Guadalupe Posada created a famous print of a figure that he called "La Calavera de la Catrina" ("calavera of the female dandy"), as a parody of a Mexican upper class female. Posada's striking image of a costumed female with a skeleton face has become associated with the Day of the Dead, and Catrina figures often are a prominent part of modern Day of the Dead observances.

Catrina

 

Day of the Dead Jewelry

Inspired by the Spirits of our ancestors in celebration of Day of the Dead, el Dia de los Muertos! Artisan-made jewelry for those moved by the Mysteries.

Unique, one of a kind Day of the Dead jewelry perfect for paying homage to your ancestors any time of year! These exquisite bracelets consist of numerous Day of the Dead iconic charms such as holy saints medals, crosses, skulls, semiprecious stones in festive Day of the dead colors, assorted hearts representing el Corazon del Muerto, glass and ceramic flower beads, evil eye beads to ward off evil and negativity, crystals, images of Day of the dead iconic figures such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Catrin, and Catrina, butterflies, angels, angel wings, Miracle beads, Our Lady of Guadalupe medals, and more!

These artisan crafted Day of the Dead charm bracelets can be transformed easily into necklaces by simply adding the sterling silver chain extension that comes with each bracelet. Silver charms are sterling silver, silver plated, Thai silver, Bali silver, and nickel plated.

These bracelets may be personalized by adding photos of your own deceased ancestors. Simply email us up to three photos and we will create small charms out of them and add them to your bracelet. Please note that only deceased family members should be added to your Day of the Dead jewelry, so please do not send us photos of living relatives for this product. In essence, you are wearing a portable ancestral altar when you wear one of Planet Voodoo's beautifully handcrafted Day of the Dead pieces of jewelry.

To purchase, please visit Day of the Dead Jewelry.

Day of the Dead Proverbs

Here are a few of the popular proverbs and sayings about the Day of the Dead:

Hay ms tiempo que vida

There is more time than life.

Hierba mala nunca muere.

Bad weed never dies.

Se me subi el muerto.

The deceased climbed on me! Which means: "It really scared me!"

Ya ni en la paz de los sepulcros creo.

I don't even believe in the peace of the tombs anymore. "I don't trust anyone"

The asustas del muerto y the cobijas con la mortaja.

You're afraid of the defunct but use his shroud to cover yourself! This saying is used when someone is criticizing someone else, but at the same time he takes advantage of him.

A m la muerte me pela los dientes.

Death peels my teeth! Which means "Death can't do anything to me!"

Quien con la esperanza vive, alegre muere.

He who lives with hope dies happy.

Bride and Groom Calaveras

This Day of the Dead Voodoo doll couple is made in honor of Catrin and Catrina, made popular by renowned author, journalist and political cartoonist Guadalupe Posada, (1852-1913). The names Catrin and Catrina mean "dapper," and they reflect the fashions of the times. Here, Catrin and Catrina are depicted as bride and groom calaveras, a popular image in Day of the Dead art.

These bride and groom calaveras measure approximately 9 to 10 inches not counting the 1 inch stand. They are not attached to the stand or each other, giving you greater flexibility for display. Their faces are handsculpted out of polymer clay with painted details. Catrina is dressed in vintage laces with a skull on a white flower at her center, and she has small gold and purple flowers on her veil. She is also holding a monarch butterfly for her groom. Catrin is wearing a grey tuxedo made out of faux suede, a ruffle shirt, and a red bow tie. He is wearing a hat made out of polymer clay and he is holding a bouquet of flowers for his bride. Both come signed for authenticity by the artist.

Available exclusively at The Mystic Voodoo.

Frida and Diego

Diego Rivera was a communist and world-famous Mexican painter, and husband of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo was also a Mexican painter who has achieved great international popularity. Diego Rivera was a notorious ladies' man who had fathered at least two illegitimate children by two different women. In fact, he was still married when he met art student Frida Kahlo, whom he eventually married. Their mutual infidelities and his violent temper led to divorce in 1939, but they later re-married.

This Day of the Dead couple is my tribute to Frida and Diego, two great Mexican artists. They are created in my unique conjure art tradition, combining the tradition of the Aztec calavera with New Orleans Voodoo art. Frida measures approximately 8 inches including the feathers on her head. Her face is hand-sculpted out of polymer clay with painted details. She is wearing vintage lace and ribbons, and adorned with flowers, feathers, and rhinestones. She is self-standing and comes signed for authenticity.

Diego Rivera measures approximately 7 inches including his feathers. His face is hand-sculpted out of polymer clay with painted details, and he has a Day of the Dead bandana on his head. He is wearing a hand-beaded daisy chain necklace from which a cross hangs, and he has a mexican style blanket draped over his arm. He is self-standing and comes signed for authenticity.

Available exclusively at The Mystic Voodoo.

DAY OF THE DEAD DOLL

This Day of the Dead doll is made in the spirit of this ancient Aztec tradition. He measures 14 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide. His face is hand-sculpted of polymer clay and painted with traditional imagery. His crown of flowers is real graveyard ephemera and his body is painted with the traditional el Corazon de la Muerte (heart of the Dead). His body is constructed in the traditional New Orleans Folk art style of Spanish moss and sticks, wrapped with white cloth, and he wears a black cape. He stands on his own. His gold tooth is my whimsical DOD doll trademark.

This Da de los Muertos doll is dedicated to our indigenous people killed by war and lost in the process of colonization. May the flame of life smile upon the darkness of death!

Day of the Dead Folk Art Satire

This Day of the Dead doll is made in honor of Catrina, made popular by renowned author, journalist and political cartoonist Guadalupe Posada, (1852-1913). He is credited for popularizing the Day of the Dead celebrations, especially through the creation of skeletal cartoons that capture the Mexican attitude towards death. The names Catrin and Catrina mean "dapper," and they reflect the fashions of the times.

The faces are made prior to making the bodies. When inspired, I will sculpt a number of skulls from polymer clay that are then baked in the oven. Their faces are further sculpted using a scalpel blade and sanded with sandpaper. A gold tooth is placed in the mouth of the skull, which is my original signature. Their faces are pained with several coats of white acrylic paint, and then painted with colorful floral and traditional DOD motifs.Sometimes the faces are coated with a clear glitter topcoat for a further touch of whimsey. The dolls in the picture do not have the clear glitter top coat on their faces. Their faces are then glued to their bodies using a heavy hardware, household, and marine glue.

For the foundation of the bodies, I use the New Orleans Voodoo folk art tradition of making dolls from sticks and Spanish moss, as opposed to paper mache as is typically used in Mexico. I use much less Spanish moss than when making other types of dolls, and sometimes I do not use Spanish moss at all. For example, Catrina was made without Spanish moss, while Catrin has a little Spanish moss. I wrap the bodies in white fabric and then dress them according to character, carefully sewing their outfits in colorful fabrics, lace, sequins, and flowers. I also use real graveyard ephemera as their bouquets and decoration. No, I don't go grave robbing for this! But I do visit cemeteries and I will pick up wind blown pieces of flowers and grave offerings that are in the road or the edge of the yard or otherwise away from graves. I clean these, and recycle them when creating my dolls. Lastly, the dolls are glued into place on a wooden doll stand so that they are self standing. The stands are also decorated with paint, flowers, and/or lace.

Ofrenda a los Naguales

Offering to the Animal Spirits

The ancient Aztecs believed that when a person is born they get a nagual, an animal spirit companion who would be at their side throughout life as a soul partner. Animals are honored and revered because the Aztecs acknowledge the sacred interdependence between humankind and the animal world. Even today, the indigenous people are well aware of the fact that without our animal relatives we would cease to exist. Animal skeletons and skulls are a common element on the Day of the Dead altars and represent the sacred passing of a family pet or Animal Spirits. Our animal relatives are appeased with offerings as are our ancestors.

Here is an example of one of my original Day of the Dead decorative altar skulls. It is a real raccoon skull. It is not paper mach or clay. It was found by my son who was exploring a century old barn that his uncle purchased in the Midwest. The skull was cleaned, bleached, and blessed, and then transformed into the beautiful work of art that you see in the picture. It is my Ofrenda a los Naguales (Offering to the Animal Spirits). I have hand painted it with acrylics and inks and strategically placed a few jewels to enhance the traditional design. It is in two pieces; the top of the skull sits on the lower jaw. It measures approximately 14 cm x 6.5 cm by anthropological standards.

Ofrenda a los Naguales Altar Skull

 

Ofrenda a los Naguales Altar Skull

 

DECORATIVE SKULL ART

By Denise Alvarado

Here is an example of a decorative skull characteristic of the Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead on Amazon

Dia de los Muertos on Amazon

Day of the Dead News

Patzcuaro, MEXICO - An old Mexican pilgrim stayed all night long next to the tomb of her relatives in a Mexican cemetery during the Day of the Dead in Pastcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. The Day of the Dead (dia de los muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico on November 2 and 3rd.

Although this story is from last year, the picture is a beautiful representation of this awesome celebration.

Read, more here: http://voodoo-news.blogspot.com/2007/10/day-of-dea...

Communication is the name of the game!

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    • profile image

      texasshutterbug 8 years ago

      Good lens but I'm not sure how voodoo has anything to do with Dia De Los Muetros since Voodoo's origins stems from Africa. Its simply a celebration of life and those who have passed. Sometimes also referred to in the Catholic culture as all Souls Day with rememberence with an Alter depecting those who have passed with their favorite things. Good Lens by the way :)

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi,The lens is very interesting.I did not hear of such kind of carnivals till today.Any have this is very interesting.Feel free to visit my thefauxpaintingsource blog

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Day Of The Dead My Little Pony!http://www.mikeysflowers.com/krr/id65.html

    • profile image

      UMT 9 years ago

      The day of the dead? This is freaky.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      i love this page!! i am making my own dia de los muertos christmas decorations and was looking for some examples of the sacred heart. i also have a newly acquired coyote skull (thank you sierra madre) and i never considered painting it. now i will. thanks.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      i like what you've done, voodoomama.

    • DeniseAlvarado profile image
      Author

      Denise M Alvarado 9 years ago from Southwest

      Somebody throw me a bone! With all the traffic, surely someone has something to say!!!

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      SWEET! There is a picture of Jerry Garcia driving Curious Gabe's VW Bus during the Day of the Dead at http://www.flickr.com/photos/91508524@N00/28959005... by your DIA DE LOS MUERTOS. Enjoy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      :)

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Informative article, thanks for distilling a lot down into a consumable bite.

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      MrLewisSmile LM 10 years ago

      I love those voodoo dolls!

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      I like your lens.