La Catrina – Icon & Symbol of Aguascalientes Mexico

La Catrina, originally called “La Calavera Garbancera”, is a figure created by José Guadalupe Posada and baptized by the muralist Diego Rivera

The original version is a metal engraving authored by cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada. 

The original name is Calavera Garbancera. “Garbancera” is the word that was then known to people who sold chickpea who had indigenous blood claiming to be European, whether Spanish or French (the latter most common during the Porfiriato) and renegade their own race, heritage and culture .

This is notable for the fact that the skull has no clothes but only the hat; from Posada’s point of view, it is a criticism of many Mexicans in the town who are poor, but still want to pretend a European lifestyle that does not belong to them.

It was Diego Rivera who gave him his characteristic attire, which includes a stole of feathers, by capturing it in his mural Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central, where the skull appears as a companion to its creator, José Guadalupe Posada. 

It was also the muralist who called her “Catrina”, a name that became popular later, making her a popular Mexican character.

catrina AGUASCALIENTES

The image of the Catrina is becoming the quintessential Mexican image of death, it is increasingly common to see it embodied as part of celebrations for the day of the dead throughout the country, it has even crossed the two-dimensional image and has become a reason for the creation of crafts, either mud or other materials, which depending on the region may vary a little in their clothing and even their famous hat, but they have also been called “catrinas”.

Special appreciation is held in the city of Aguascalientes as a cultural and popular image, to the degree that a monument has been placed at the main entrance to the city, and also, together with the “Cerro del Muerto” is the host and main figure of the Skull Fair held annually around the Day of the Dead.

In 2001, La Catrina starred in the animated short film Up to the Bones of director René Castillo. 

In it, the figure appears on the stage of a cabaret of the underworld, dressed in the clothing with which it appears on Rivera’s mural, interpreting a version of La Llorona with the voice of singer Eugenia León. 

At the end of his number, Catrina brings out a young man who has just died. The couple dances in front of the crowd formed by dozens of skulls of all ages.

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