Ok so, you are going to some party as a spooky skeleton, but you have the good idea to dress up as something tha’s not only a skeleton, but a national symblol in another country.
The Catrina or calavera. (Mexico)
So you migth say, well its a costume what’s wrong with it. And i’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. IT’S NOT A COSTUME. It’s not even spooky in this country, because it’s not used as a halloween prop,even most mexican people dont actually celebrate halloween since it’s close to a very important celebration of our own.
Dia de los inocentes y Dia de los muertos (November 1st and 2nd)
Let’s learn a little of that awsome “costume” you got there.
Ok, who’s the Catrina?
The Catrina (or calavera) it’s a cartoon that was born in 1910 by famous Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada.
The image depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat befitting the upper class outfit of a European of her time, She is offered as a satirical portrait of those Mexican natives who, Posada felt, were aspiring to adopt European aristocratic traditions in the pre-revolutionary era.
It was Diego Rivera who show her for the first time full dressed in his mural Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central, side by side with her creator, Posada.
It was also Rivera who gave her the name of “CATRINA” and was later popularized among mexicans.
Why is it so important to Mexicans?
It’s one of our symbols in some of our celebrations, such as november 20th in the Revolucion Mexicana (Mexican Revolution) where the catrina is shown in tipical Mexican dresses, with a carrillera.
We use her and her partner, the Catrin, to help us celebrate Dia de los muertos, also known as Dia de todos los santos (Or Dia de los inocentes in wich we remember all the little kids who died) in november 1st, and Dia de los Muertos in november 2nd.
The Catrina and the Catrin are dressed, some in titpical clothes and some in clothes of the love one who is no longer here. Its also common to make a family of calaveras to decorate.
What does calaveritas and catrinas mean in Dia de los muertos?
In Dia de los Muertos, mexican families put up an altar to honor and remember our loved ones who died. Wich is used to (supossedly) bring their souls back to us so they can have a nice party. In wich we use their favourite food and drinks to decorate it, so the spirits can eat something in the time they’re here. Tipical food is also used in the altar, such as Arroz, mole, tequila, and some seasonal fruit as oranges, tangerines, sugar canes and jicamas.
Dia de los muertos is also celebrated in cementeries and graves.
And then thre’s the Calaveritas. Calaveritas are commonly made of sugar, and decorated with eatible glitter. And they have the name of our dead relative in their foreheads. - Fun fact: The calaveritas are not a mexican, theyre spanish. Spanish people were the ones that introduced this tradition to our country, since our dia de los muertos was almost the same day as spanish celebration, Dia de todos los fieles -.
Catrinas and Catrines are used to help us mock and make fun of death in a respectful way, we take all the sad and creepy meaning of dying and turn it into a big party.
So now you ask, then when is it okay to dress as a catrina, or catrin or calavera?
And i say, it’s okay to do it only if you do these simple things.
1.- Dont use it to “scare” people, Catrinas are not scary, Catrins are pretty and flirty, they have flowers in their huge hats, and a big smile in their face.
2.- Please be respectful, a lot of people don’t care to investigate the meaning of our catrinas and catrines, they do not know these guys are not costumes to be used in “spooky” celebrations, but to honour our dead people.
3.- Dont call it a costume.
4.- It’s ok to do it even if you dont have mexican roots or traditions, only if you know what it means.
5.- If you think its pretty and dont make fun of it.
Please don’t be a poop about our traditions, Also please don go dressed as a ranchero. Mexicans dont ride by donkyes anymore.
Dia de los Muertos has been my favorite holiday for years. Recently when I was excited about a community celebration, and told my friends about it, they instantly were only talking about dressing up as skeletons. I was…very uncomfortable.
Please recognize what these skellys mean, my friends.