Day of the Dead Ofrendas: Calavera Fashion Show and Walking Altars

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Short poems, anecdotes, mocking or reverent tributes, called calaveras or “skulls,” are given to celebrate public or private figures. In Los Angeles, Tropico de Nopal Gallery has taken the custom into the realm of performance art-fashion show-walking altar display.

Día del los Muertos: Calavera Fashion Show

Tropico de Nopal Gallery-Art Space, Los Angeles, California

Mexico and its pocho-adherents celebrate a yearly tradition called Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), during the last days of October through the first week of November. It is a time to communicate with the ancestors, celebrating the death-transition from one life to another. Blending the Roman Catholic All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) with indigenous pre-colonial Mexican traditions, death becomes a colorful dance, where souls never die, they rest in Mictlan.

Pre-spaniard, this celebration took place in August, an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called MictecacihuatlOfrendas or offerings might include orange marigolds to attract the souls, toys bought for departed children, bottles of tequila, candies, pan de muerto, and sugar skulls for nourishment, altars with candles, Christian crosses, and pictures of deceased relatives.

Short poems, anecdotes, mocking or reverent tributes, called calaveras or “skulls,” are given to celebrate public or private figures. In Los Angeles, Tropico de Nopal Gallery has taken the custom into the realm of performance art-fashion show-walking altar display.

La Gran Calavera Electrica – Daniel Gonzalez – Photo JE

Reyes Rodriguez, Founder/Director of the Art Space located near Echo Park, is quoted in the program saying, “I believe that this event has forever transformed the couture for the deceased, thus generating the utmost Ofrenda.”

Walking Altars at Tropico de Nopal in LA

El Gallo Giro By Abel Alejandre

Miss Narco By Carolyn Castano – Photo by JE

 

Bee Conscious By Elena Esparza – Photo By Jack Eidt

 

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature’s all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion — Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt