Diners at Diane Powers’ Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in San Diego can’t resist wandering next door to browse the treasures at Bazaar del Mundo. Lost in the lure of our vast selection of Mexican and Latin American folk art, ornaments, crafts, jewelry and other festive merchandise, more than one shopper has become mesmerized by the sight of bride and groom skeleton dolls. Those unfamiliar with the Mexican observance of Dia de los Muertos often think they convey a macabre mixed message and want to know the significance.
Celebrated on November 1st, the day is regarded as a joyous occasion, a day to prepare a feast, to rejoice and acknowledge everlasting connection to all loved ones – those still walking the planet as well as those who have passed on. When Catholic shoppers note that November 1st is also All Saints Day, we point out that while the rest of the Catholic world may observe the day sedately with morning Mass, Dia de los Muertos, drawing on both pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic theology, is a festive day for Mexicans, calling for the decorating of loved ones’ grave sites with flowers, often marigolds, as well as liquor, trinkets, or any other objects their deceased loved.
This is often done on October 31, but rather than a Halloween activity, it is done in preparation for midnight when any children (angelitos) who died in their youth will be the first to emerge to spend 24 hours with their families, followed on November 2nd by the spirits of the adults who come to partake of the prepared feast.
Those really into the celebration may choose to use face paint to transform themselves into a skull, (calavera) or a skeleton (calaca). Still others choose to dress up as a catrina or catrin, a festively adorned skeletal figure created by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada. Drawing from this tradition that emphasizes the eternity of love, Dia de los Muertos bride and groom dolls have come to symbolize that although life is short, love is eternal and a wedding day should bring this to mind.
Today we are seeing Dia de los Muertos-themed weddings taking place all over the world. So if perchance anyone is getting married soon, we invite you to combine dining in San Diego with shopping for wedding reception favors here at Bazaar del Mundo – even if your theme doesn’t include skeletons.