Day of the Dead 2007

copywrite 2007 Julia TaylorThis year Cuernavaca went all out for the Day of the Dead. An association of local museums started their first annual festival of ofrendas (offerings) and catrinas (well-dressed woman skeletons). The zocalo was packed with graves made of piled up sand and head stones depicting famous people, rung with marigold heads, and tops with burning candles that glowed after dark as well as offerings made by local families and students, but the best part was the catrinas.

The catrinas captivated all of us from the first moment we saw them. Made of paper machete and dressed to the hilt copywrite 2007 Julia Taylorin a manner that depicted a theme, they were expertly crafted with paint, natural materials, cloth, beads, mirrors, and stones.  We paused and photographed them every which way, jockeying among the crowd to get good angles. We stood next to them and took our photos by their side as if copywrite 2007 Julia Taylorwith Mickey Mouse at Disneyland — as did many other people there. I think half of Cuernavaca was inspired to pose next to at least one catrina and smile into the photographic lens of a cell phone. I never saw a sign explaining exactly who made them, but each was labeled with a theme-related title copywrite 2007 Julia Taylorand an artist’s name. The catrinas were about 7 feet tall and their body language showed their character because the artists carefully posed them. The artistic excellence with which they were crafted was inspiring.

One catrina had a crowd of people packed around it so tight that at first we couldn’t see what was so attractive about her. Once we pushed up close we saw that her face was glowing with opalescent tiles and her skirt was lit up from inside with shining butterflies and the Virgin of Guadalupe on a field of matt black. It was stunning and while my photos turned out good, they don’t quite capture the full effect.

copywrite 2007 Julia TaylorYou’ve really got to experience the Day of the Dead to know how wonderful it is.

copywrite 2007 Julia Taylor

copywrite 2007 Julia Taylor

copywrite 2007 Julia Taylor

copywrite 2007 Julia Taylor

copywrite 2007 Julia Taylor

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