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This is a Dia de los Muertos themed reception. If you feel inspired to dress up (and we hope you do), below you will find photos, video how-to's, and links on the history and style of DDLM.

Keep checking back for updates - Kiki will add more resources.

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Image by Alonso Reyes
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Catrina La Calavera Garbancera is the matriarchal icon of the Dia de los Muertos holiday. Donning a French-style hat, worn by high-society Europeans in the early 1900’s, her origins are that of political satire. Around 1910 illustrator José Guadalupe Posada drew Catrina La Calavera Garbancera as a political commentary expressing the distaste of the Mexican people toward Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz, who was obsessed with European culture, and though he helped to modernize Mexico, was so corrupt that his leadership caused the Mexican Revolution.


“Garbancera” is slang for an Indigenous woman who tries to look European while denying her own heritage. La Catrina hides her Mexican origin by wearing European garments and only her bones, which make her look white. Her image speaks of the conflict between rich and poor and represents death, which is the great equalizer.  In fact, she is the modern-day representation of the Mesoamerican goddess of the Underworld, Mictlancihuatl.


Later in 1946, Diego Rivera revived the image of La Catrina in the painting Sueno de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday afternoon along Central Alameda). In this piece La Catrina is dressed in a full-length gown linking arms with Posada, Rivera and Frida Kahlo. This painting became a cultural treasure and further cemented La Catrina into the consciousness of the Mexican diaspora.


The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. The adoption of La Catrina as the emblem of Day of the Dead today takes many forms; everything from papier-mâché and ceramic figurines, to chocolate treats, breads, candies, to sugar skulls, even the makeup and costumes worn by festival-goers everywhere dressing as Catrin and Catrina. La Catrina ties together the times and our interpretation of death: her elegant dress suggests celebration, her inescapable smile reminding us that there is perhaps comfort in an acceptance of mortality, and that the dead should be commemorated, as a reminder to enjoy the sweetness of life.

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