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.
Hell, Michigan, that is. That’s right, nestled deep in the southern region of the “Great Lakes State,” in Livingston County, lies an unincorporated community called Hell. With no defined boundaries or population statistics, Hell (as it appears on maps) is difficult to take seriously as a place name. But don’t tell that to the locals, especially the self-proclaimed Mayor of Hell, John Colone, who keeps his town’s reputation alive by indulging visitors with terrifying tableaus and horror stories.
As the rest of the world continues to power through the COVID-19 pandemic, a delightful and intoxicating respite has returned to Italy — one of the planet’s most ravaged and earliest hit countries — in the form of tiny windows scattered throughout the luscious Tuscany region. The surprise awaiting imbibers on the other end of the opening is vino, pure and simple. A staple beverage that is ubiquitous to Italy; presented, with discreet charm, in a historic display that seems to indicate that things, finally, might just be returning to normal.
Life moves at a frenetic pace. It often feels impossible to hit pause on the obligations and distractions that come with modern life. One 92-acre village in the heart of Indiana is just the place to change all that. With its authentic Amish food, hospitality, and culture, Gasthof Amish Village is the perfect place for a weekend getaway to recharge and refresh.
Amid the current pandemic, the debate continues about the efficacy of personal protective equipment, especially face masks. According to some, if they are not of the N95 grade quality, they may not be effective at protecting the wearer’s immune system from absorbing foreign airborne pathogens. Pandemics are not a new phenomenon, and how they are handled now is a sharp contrast to the yesteryear methods. However, one similarity involves the protective gear worn by today’s health care workers—our new plague doctors.
What began as a practical scarecrow creation for the family plot has transformed into a whimsical display of memories in the remote village of Nagoro, Japan. When someone passes on or moves away, Ayano Tsukimi, an elderly crafts hobbyist, makes life-sized scarecrows to remember their presence. These ubiquitous cotton-stuffed dolls are ten times more than the human residents in the village and have become a major attraction for visitors from around the globe.
The Isle of Man, a tiny, self-governing British Crown dependency situated between Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales in the heart of the Irish Sea, features prominently in Britain’s history of scintillating storytelling. A proud population of around 80,000 Manx occupy this mythical territory, and most are keen to preserve its rich connection to traditional fairy folklore. And they’ve recently gotten some help from an outside source.
Nestled deep in the hidden valleys of Yunnan, China, east of the Himalayas and abutting the blue waters of Lugu Lake, sits a community of inhabitants known as the Mosuo people. And like most members of this community, they collectively share several similarities—traits, ideals, morals, beliefs. What sets this group apart from the rest of their mainland counterparts is their surprisingly modern approach to Chinese tradition. In this mysterious and unspoiled region, known as the “Kingdom of Women,” men take a backseat.
In the quaint Romanian town of Săpânţa, the local Merry Cemetery features a colorful tableau of more than 800 grave markers that manage to elicit emotions that are uncharacteristic of traditional burial grounds. Somber slate and graphite mounds are replaced with colorful wooden crosses—each depicting, in almost playful detail, the life and death of each of the town’s former residents.