An Honored Cultural Tradition
El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), a Mexican celebration, is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. On this day in Mexico, the streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations of papel picado, flowers, candy calaveras (skeletons and skulls), and parades.
It is believed that the spirit of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2.
In order to celebrate, the families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of food such as pan de muertos baked in shapes of skulls and figures, candles, incense, yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl (also spelled zempasuchil) and most importantly a photo of the departed soul is placed on the altar.
It might sound somewhat morbid, but the Mexicans react to death with mourning along with happiness and joy. They look at death with the same fear as any other culture, but there is a difference. They reflect their fear by mocking and living alongside death.
Living alongside death means that Mexicans have to learned to accept it within their lives. Death is apparent in everyday life. It is in art and even in children’s toys. It is not respected as it is in other cultures. Children play “funeral” with toys that are made to represent coffins and undertakers.
Death is laughed at in its face. Many euphemisms are used for death, La calaca (the skeleton), la pelona (“baldy”), la flaca (“skinny”), and la huesada (“bony”). There are refranes, sayings, and poems that are popular with day of the dead. These sayings are cliches and lose meaning when translated. For example “La muerte es flaca y no puede conmigo” means “Death is skinny/weak and she can’t carry me.” Calaveras (skulls) are decorated with bright colors with the name of the departed inscribed on the head. Children carrying yellow marigolds enjoy the processions to the cemetery. At the cemetery, music is played and dances are made to honor the spirits.
Death is a celebration in Mexico. Death is among them.
This beautiful and compelling makeup has found its way into North American halloween culture.
It is a sad, proud, joyous expression of the cycle of life.
It is good to know what you represent when choosing to wear this makeup.
I have selected two clean and easy YouTube tutorials to share with you demonstrating
only a fraction of the many techniques for creating the ‘Sugar Skull’ makeup on yourself.
Remember with joyous sadness those who have departed.
18th of October, 2017
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CHRIS SCOTT, M.A. is the creator of San Francisco-based Makeup Gourmet®. Over his nearly 30-year career, in addition to doing makeup for top models from every corner of the planet, he also had the honor of working for legends like Paul McCartney, US Vice President Al Gore, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Shirley Temple Black, Maya Angelou and Olympic Gold medalists Oksana Baiul and Kristi Yamaguchi. He was the creator and host of the TV show ‘Makeup Gourmet’ from 2008 – 2010. He was a leading Chanel Beauté national artist for over two decades, and is also the creator and guest teacher of Fashion Makeup at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He created his unique Makeup Gourmet line to ensure his clients and the public could have access to high-quality, ethically produced, ‘green’ makeup and skincare with a low-carbon footprint. Chris is also the author of Cosmetic Counter Survival Guide: How to Buy the Right Skin Care and Makeup and the international #1 bestseller Face with a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty Makeup.
‘The grass is always greener where you water it.’