The city of Aguascalientes marks el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a colorful celebration of the dead in the city’s traditional 18th annual Festival de Calaveras from October 26 to November 4.
Aguascalientes is the birthplace of printmaker and cartoonist Jose Guadalupe Posada, who created “La Calavera Catrina,” the image most synonymous with the Day of the Dead, in a 1910 zinc etching.
A fashionably dressed skeleton in a large, feathered hat, Catrina was meant to satirize the upper classes who denied their indigenous heritage and imitated Europeans during the reign of Porfirio Diaz, but she has since become an icon of Mexican culture and specifically Dia de los Muertos. The original Catrina is exhibited alongside many of the artist’s other works, in the city’s Museo Guadalupe Posada.
The Calaveras Festival takes place in Aguascalientes’ Isla San Marcos facilities and the city’s Cultural Institute, with 220 events lined up, including live music and theatre, film, parades, tours and bullfighting.
Guadalupe Posada’s legacy will be brought to life in the Fandango de Calaveras, a theater and dance spectacle held daily at the Teatro Aguascalientes.
Aguascalientes is also home to the wonderfully named Museo Nacional de la Muerte (National Museum of Death), which hosts extensive exhibitions related to Day of the Dead and the cult of death.
Buses run from Guadalajara to Aguascalientes in under three hours, with return tickets available for less than 500 pesos. Driving is easy via the Lagos de Moreno toll road for two-thirds of the route. For more information on the festival visit www.festivaldecalaveras.com.mx.