Dia De Los Muertos Carpinteria Festival 2017

ABOUT JOSE GUADALUPE POSADA - the father of the iconic La Catrina

Since his death a century ago, José Guadalupe Posada's work has steadily gained popularity with art lovers and Dia de los Muertos celebrators alike. He is especially known for his calaveras images of whimsical skeletons.

Posada, born in 1852 in the Mexican state of Aquascalientes, began his career as a teacher of lithography. In 1887, he moved to Mexico City where he worked as an illustrator for hire.

His work reflected the times in which he lived. Posada's illustrations made the stories, news articles, broadsides, advertisements and the many other items his work accompanied easy to grasp for a poverty-stricken population that overwhelmingly was illiterate.

Truly defining the phrase "a picture speaks a thousand words," he captured the essence of an emotion, putting it in a form that made it come to life for thousands of people.


Key Components of a Traditional Dia de los Muertos Altar Levels: An altar can have two, three or seven levels. They represent the levels the soul must go through to get to final rest. Image of loved one Star shaped or regular lamp: To help the soul finds its home.

Colorful papel picado: The union between life and death. The traditional day of the dead colors are orange, black, purple and yellow.

Food: To celebrate the arrival of the spirits we offer favorite dishes, which can include alcohol, cigarettes and sweets.

Incense or copal: To make the evil spirits go away

Salt: Purifies the soul and avoids corruption Cross made of lime (calcium oxide, not the fruit) on the floor: Represents the four cardinal points to guide the soul.

Ash cross: Cleanses the soul from its wrong-doings.

Flower path to the altar: Guides the soul to the offering.

Toys: To entertain the soul of children

Candles and veladoras: Help the spirt ascend, a symbol of love that guides the soul to the altar. The candles can be purple or white which represent mourning and purity.

Personal belongings: May be photos or objects that the dearly departed used.

Water glass: For the thirsty soul to replenish before its journey back.

Pan de muerto: Represents the generosity of he/she whom receives the soul and the gift of earth itself.

Flowers: The smell of zempoaxóchitl guides spirits to this world.

Sugar skulls: Represent the loved ones who have passed away.

Basin: For the soul to wash his or her hands after the long journey.

The Day of the Dead is a time for the dead to return home and visit loved ones, feast on their favorite foods and listen to their favorite music.

In the homes, family members honor their deceased with ofrendas or offerings which may consist of photographs, bread, other foods, flowers, toys and other symbolic offerings. You can go onto this page and click on numbers on an altar to see what components are part of an altar.


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