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La Catrina: A celebration of life and death in Mexico.


By: Victoria Andrea Anillo Campos

Content Writing and Marketing


La catrina

La Catrina is an iconic figure of Mexican culture associated with the Day of the Dead celebrations. This elegant skeletal figure dressed in high society attire is one of the most recognized symbols of Mexico around the world. The history of La Catrina dates back to the nineteenth century, when the famous Mexican engraver and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada created this figure as a social critic, representing the vanity and elitism of the upper class of the time.

The Catrina has become a central element of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. Every year, from October 31 to November 2, the streets fill with color and life as families honor their deceased loved ones.

Altar de muertos

During this festivity, altars are built and cemeteries are visited, where offerings of food, drink and objects that were appreciated by the deceased are placed. La Catrina, with her elegant outfit and distinctive makeup, becomes a symbol of life and death, reminding us that we are all equal in the face of the inevitable passage of time.

La catrina makeup

Putting on makeup like La Catrina is a popular tradition during the Day of the Dead festivities.
Makeup consists of painting the face white and creating intricate patterns of skulls, flowers and colorful details. This makeup process is a way to honor deceased loved ones and to connect with the cycle of life and death. By painting themselves as La Catrina, people show their respect and acceptance of death as a natural part of existence, celebrating the memory of those who are no longer physically present.

La Catrina is much more than a stylized figure of death. It represents a unique fusion of history, culture and traditions in Mexico.
Through the celebration of the Day of the Dead and the use of La Catrina makeup, Mexicans pay tribute to their ancestors, keep their memory alive and find solace in the idea that death is simply another stage of life.

In Canada, this special date is celebrated by the Mexican communities with multiple activities and picturesque parades in the streets during the same dates.

La Catrina reminds us to enjoy every moment and appreciate the ephemeral beauty of existence, valuing both the living and the dead.