Significance of Catrinas in mexican culture

Significance of Catrinas in mexican culture

November 2 2011

In Mexico, one of the most significant holidays is the “Day of the Dead” right after Halloween. If you are in Puerto Vallarta at this time, you will no doubt see many figurines of stately, high society female skeletons. These figurines are known as Calaveras Catrinas, or the “Elegant Skull.” The Catrina figurines have become the most identifiable image of the Day of the Dead and one of Mexican culture in general.

In 1913, printmaker José Guadalupe Posada sketched the origin Catrina image in zinc. His images, which symbolized the inner-emptiness of the upper class (fancy dead women in ball gowns), remained popular through the Mexican revolution. In fact, the figure was created to show the reason why a revolution was needed to equalize Mexican society. The Catrina images were popular in part because they could be understood by the working class without any lengthy descriptions and explanations. The Catrinas then faded from the public eye until a French artist revived them in the 1920s.

Along the Puerto Vallarta malecon and throughout the city, you can buy your very own Catrina to take home. These amazing pieces of art come in all sizes from just a few inches to several feet tall. The galleries selling Catrina figurines also offer books explaining the historical importance of the Catrinas in Mexican culture. You can even find shirts, post cards, and other sundries with the Catrina images on them.

Learn more about Day of the Dead