calavera estudiante
calavera estudiante
(student skeleton)
© 1991 Alfred Avila

roof decoration on carousel
roof decoration on carousel
in downtown Santa Ana,
Noche de Altares 2008 (Night of Altars)

"Organized by non-profit organization El Centro Cultural de México and local business Calacas Inc., [the] 6th Annual Noche de Altares is a free, family-friendly community event. Throughout the day there will be arts and crafts workshops, face painting, local artists selling their wares, and delicious food from local restaurants and vendors. Live music and entertainment from local and international musicians and dance troupes all day.

"At the heart of the tradition, community members from Santa Ana and as far as Los Angeles will construct over 40 altars. Participants are encouraged to build their altar in memory of a deceased loved one or to bring awareness to a social issue. Registration to build an altar is free and open to the public."
— from 2008 event program

Photos copyright © November 1, 2008 Kat Avila / Time of Day: late afternoon / Camera: Canon SD1000
El Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is celebrated from the evening of October 31 through November 2 (All Saints' and All Souls' Days) in memory of the deceased.

Typical activities include preparing and decorating ofrendas (family altars of food and other offerings for the dead; the making of ofrendas has also evolved into an art form), cleaning up grave sites and picnicking with departed loved ones at the crowded cemetery, and playing traditional Dia de los Muertos games.

Orange and yellow marigold flowers (the Aztec cempasuchil), sugar skulls and toy coffins, pan de los muertos (bread of the dead), and calaveras (handcrafted skulls and skeletons, historically linked to lampooning verses of the same name) are among the usual items sold for this festival.

Skeletal figures of a woman wearing a fashionable mushroom hat trimmed with plumes and lace are of La Calavera de la Catrina ("Fashionable Lady Skeleton"), based on a 1913 zinc etching by political cartoonist and artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).
ceramic skulls
custom-art ceramic skulls
for sale
calavera paper cutouts
papel picado calaveras
(calavera paper cutouts)
bag with La Catrina design
bag with La Calavera de
la Catrina
Gym vendor
The Cym banner shows
a person with Day
of the Dead face paint.
papier-mache skull
At a vendor's booth,
a large unpainted
papier-mâché skull.
feather headdress
This display was replaced
by a regular altar.
feather headdresses
Aztec eagle warrior portrait
The Aztec eagle warrior
altar that replaced the
display of headdresses.
finished altar
feather shield and basket of maize ears
Aztec feather shield
and basket of maize ears
feather headdress
blue frame altar
La Virgen de Guadalupe
(Our Lady of Guadalupe)
graces this altar for women.
black custom-art ceramic skull "Missing Women" altar
"Gender-based infanticide,
abortion, malnutrition
and neglect are believed to
be behind 60 to 100 million
women 'missing' from the
world's population...."
green blanket altar yellow cross altar heart wreath
heart wreath
powder skull blue blanket altar
marigold cross
La Calavera de la Catrina
and marigold cross
la Catrina mosaic
mosaic of La Calavera
de la Catrina
rice mosaic skull
rice mosaic skull
marigold skull altar marigold skull
la bandera de México
(the flag of Mexico)
OCCTAC altar
Orange County Children's
Therapeutic Arts Center

OCCTAC table altar
OCCTAC table altar
OCCTAC floor altar
OCCTAC floor altar
paper skull decorations
paper skull decorations
OCCTAC info basket
OCCTAC info basket
flowers altar overview overview overview
corn altar sugar candy skull
calaverita de azúcar
(sugar candy skull)
orange blanket altar banana altar
Frida Kahlo altar
Frida Kahlo altar
wedding couple
together forever
tigger altar pan de los muertos
panes de figuras antropomorfas
(anthropomorphic figure loaves)
for Day of the Dead
in front of the Yost Theater
In front of the Yost Theater,
which is listed in the National
Register of Historic Places.
calavera banner
calavera banner
calavera mannequins
life-size calaveras
calavera mannequins
life-size calaveras
calavera mannequins
life-size calaveras
calavera mannequins calavera mannequins adult mannequins child mannequins sitting mannequins
altar doll collection
A daughter's dolls
are part of this altar.
Iraqi war deaths
remembering Iraqi war deaths
of soldiers and civilians
remembering U.S. war veterans
U.S. war veterans
bush of crosses
memorial crosses
planted in the bushes
marigold cross
marigold cross
marigold cross and bowl of fruit
marigold cross
and bowl of fruit
altar bread loaves
UFW poster
Chican@s Unidos, "an O.C.
Grassroots Chican@ Rights
Organization Promoting
Culture and Empowerment"
Orange County
Mexican American
Historical Society
altar calavera with scarf
"¡Hola! How are you today?"
altar Katarina calavera
La Calavera de la Catrina
tops this altar.
lime green altar
pumpkin altar white shelves altar balletfolklorico
ballet folklórico
(Mexican folk dances)
custom-art ceramic skull
custom-art ceramic skull
that I bought
ceramic storytelling doll
ceramic calavera
storyteller doll
from Peru