Day of the Dead is a huge festival that takes place across Mexico on 2 November every year. It’s not the scary, dark festival that our Hallowe’en is, but a bright, celebratory festival, remembering and honouring the dead.
Dia de los Muertos, as it’s known in Mexico, takes place on All Soul’s Day, 2 November each year. It’s one of the most stunning festivals in the world, marked by flamboyant colour and a cheerful honouring of those gone before. It is celebrated in several Latin American countries and is a national holiday in Mexico. People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed. Graves are cleaned and freshly decorated with ‘ofrendas’ (offerings) and Mexican marigolds – thought to attract souls. Toys and candies are left for dead children, and food and drink are left for adult dead. ‘Cavaleras de azucar’, (sugar skulls) are one of the main treats. Offerings, pillows and blankets are left at home as a welcome for spirits so that they can rest after their journey. ‘Cavaleras’ also refer to poetry – epitaphs for the dead that often mock the living – and to art featuring skeletons and skulls. The work of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) is a major influence on the Day of the Dead. One of the most popular figures in in the Day of the Dead celebrations is Posada’s female skeleton ‘La Cavalera Catrina’, (The Elegant Skull). A cartoonist and satirist, he made fun of the ruling classes and showed death as a leveller.
This is the colour palette artists Fiona Fleming, Nadia Rossi and Ruby Pester came up with for Final Fling’s Day of the Dead in 2013. See Events archive for info about this lovely festival.