Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
When we first moved to the Southwest, I got freaked out by the colorful skulls that appeared everywhere starting in September. I thought it must be some sort of Mexican version of Halloween. I now know it’s much deeper than that.
Day of the Dead has its roots in the Aztec culture. After the Spanish conquest, the remembrance of loved ones who had passed on became associated with the Roman Catholic celebration of All Souls Day, November 2.
The colorful skulls, or calaveras, (the ones pictured above are from the PeyotePeople shop on Etsy) are not meant to be spooky, but joyful, as the celebrations are full of family stories and jokes and poignant memories of the courage and unique personalities of their ancestors. In Mexico, families visit cemeteries to pay their respects, eat, drink, and dance to the music of mariachi bands.
Photo by Steve Bridger
In the United States, the Hispanic community is more likely to conduct remembrances in their homes, near an altar bearing photographs of the deceased. Offerings of food are placed on the altar, to nourish the spirits, whom they believe return to their loved ones for a single day to be close by and protect them from evil. The altars are decorated with marigolds, with cut-paper banners (papel picado), with brightly colored skeletal figures, and with sugar skulls, a confection made in the calavera shape. People and especially children may also have their faces painted with colorful designs. (Click on the images below to enlarge and to see credits.)
Photo by Chuchomotas
Photo by Chuchomotas
Sugar skulls; photo by Cristina Zapata Perez
Would you like to see more calaveras? Click here.
Here’s a little something I did just for fun. I recently purchased an adult coloring book.
I’m not kidding. It’s a real thing.
While I was working on the picture below, my husband, Greg, wandered into my study. “You’re not working,” he accused. “You’re playing.”
“I’m working. I’m experimenting with color!”
Greg left, shaking his head.
There is something very satisfying about coloring, watching the picture “fill up” before your eyes. It’s relaxing.
If you’d like to read further about the adult coloring phenomenon, read Jamie Jones’ article, “16 Colouring Books that are Perfect for Adults.” Or if you’d like to print out some pictures to color, see Parade’s article, “Free Download: Coloring Pages from Popular Adult Coloring Books.”
So, what do you think? Are you coloring? Or better yet, artists out there, are you making line drawings for your own coloring books? Comment below.