Often referred to as the Grande Dame of Death, La Calavera Catrina (the “elegant skull”)—or, simply, La Catrina—is frequently seen throughout the streets of Mexico during the Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, celebrations. You’ve likely seen the face before: an eerie meld of macabre and charm; fear and poise. But from where did this deathly figure emerge? What does she stand for? And why has she become such a ubiquitous part of Mexican culture?
To celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos), Mattel is releasing a second special-edition Barbie doll. With her traditional calavera (English: skull) face-paint, floral-updo, and skull-and-flowers-patterned lace gown, this gorgeous doll encapsulates the celebrations of this time.
Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” is a multi-day celebration of all five senses. Contrary to the somber tone that its name implies, the holiday is treasured in Mexican culture as an opportunity to honor the dead while celebrating the joy of life.
In most Western cultures, death is considered a sad occasion and discussions on the topic are often avoided. However, Mexicans have a different view. Once a year, from October 31 to November 2, people throughout Mexico honor the memory of family members and friends who have died, during the “Day of the Dead” (Dia de Los Muertos) celebration.