The season of death is fast approaching. October is here and soon comes Halloween with its cavalcade of ghosts and goblins together with the Catholic holy days of All Saints and All Souls, known in Latin America as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
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Included in these fall festivals are two familiar faces whose skeletal images afford them special attention during the season, despite the fact that neither one is historically connected to these holidays – Santa Muerte (Saint Death) and Catrina Calavera (Skeleton Dame) engage not only millions of South and North Americans but also many Europeans in rituals that reconnect us with our own mortality.
With retail outlets across the U.S. featuring more and more Mexican-themed Dia de los Muertos and Catrina items in their Halloween merchandise, we’ll leave aside the trick or treating and pumpkin carving of our own childhood in the United States, and try to answer one of the two questions that invariably come up during our presentations on Day of the Dead and the Bony Lady (one of Santa Muerte’s main monikers).
What is the relationship, if any, among Catrina Calavera, Santa Muerte, and Day of the Dead?
The first member of the Mexican death trinity has been in the limelight during the past decade or so, especially with her cameo appearance in the critically-acclaimed TV series, Breaking Bad.
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Santa Muerte is a Mexican folk saint who personifies death in the form of a female skeleton. Whether as a votive candle, gold medallion, […]