1 November 2011

el dia de los muertos

I know it's the Melbourne Cup today - but I'm possibly a little more interested in that other enormous festival celebrated by millions of people today and tomorrow - el dia de los muertos! (which sounds kinder to our western ears than "the day of the dead". We don't like to use the word "dead" much, but in Mexico, this is a really special holiday to remember those loved ones who have passed on before us.

The skulls (calaveras) and costumes aren't meant to be scary, but celebratory. There are altars filled with marigolds and fruit and loved ones' favourite foods. There are candles and much love and respect offered to the memories of family and friends. This holiday is played out in a similar fashion in cultures all over the world.

I fell in love with this special festival when I was living in San Francisco and I adore the iconic tongue-in-cheek figurines, the bright colours, cartoonish design and sweet meaning of the day(s) - 1st and 2nd November each year. Here's a little peek at my small collection of el dia de los muertos figurines:

If you like this fun, eclectic style too, there are some great Australian artists inspired by this holiday including:

Madeleine Stamer (Little Circus Design) - read more about Madeleine here.

* update: ooh I've just found that Madeleine is guest posting on The Design Files all week and writing all about... el dia de los muertos! and there's an amazing giveaway over on the site... *
and Made By White (read more here)

Enjoy the Melbourne Cup today and if you get a moment, maybe add a little dia de los muertos to your day too :)



  1. What a great post! A day to remember loved ones who are gone. I like the idea of baking favourite dishes for them!

    And I had no idea you collected these figurines ... (now I can plot when I go to the US ;) )

  2. Thank you Amanda! Yes please plot away. I like remembering loved ones with food too.


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