La Catrina on the Day of the Dead: Icon of Mexican Culture



La Catrina on the Day of the Dead: Icon of Mexican Culture

The Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, is a unique holiday that pays tribute to loved ones who have passed away. An iconic figure that has become an unmistakable symbol of this celebration is "La Catrina." In this blog, we will explore the cultural significance of La Catrina, her origin, and her fascinating history.

La Catrina: An Immortal Icon

La Catrina, with her elegant attire and skull-like face, is an essential figure in the Day of the Dead. She represents the duality of life and death, reminding us that death is a natural part of the life cycle. Despite her skeletal image, La Catrina is a festive and joyful representation of death, reflecting the Mexican attitude toward this event.

Historical Origins of La Catrina

La Catrina was created by the famous Mexican engraver and caricaturist José Guadalupe Posada in the early 20th century. Posada originally called her "La Calavera Garbancera" as a satirical critique of people who, despite their humble origins, tried to adopt a more European lifestyle. However, its message evolved over time to embrace the notion that everyone, regardless of their background, is equal in death.

Diego Rivera's Immortalization

La Catrina transcended the realm of illustration and emerged as an iconic symbol of Mexican culture. Her significance took a new turn when renowned painter Diego Rivera immortalized her in one of his murals. “Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central.” (Dream of Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park) At the Diego Rivera Museum in Mexico City, you can encounter a striking representation of La Catrina, underlining her profound impact on the history of Mexican art and culture.


The Role of La Catrina in the Day of the Dead

During the Day of the Dead, representations of La Catrina can be found throughout Mexico. Many people dress and paint themselves as La Catrina as part of the festivities. They are also used in altars and offerings to honor deceased loved ones. These representations reinforce the belief that death is a transition, not the end, and that our loved ones are with us in spirit during this celebration.


La Catrina is a symbol deeply rooted in Mexican culture that celebrates life and death. Her history and evolution over time reflect the richness of the Day of the Dead tradition. In a world where death is often feared, La Catrina reminds us that it is a natural event and that through this celebration, we can keep the memory of our loved ones.