Well dressed, colorful, elegant, adorned with flowers and jewelry, but in the end skeleton, the famous catrina, More than instilling fear or terror, it transmits a message of equality, since, in the end, we are bones and we will become bones, regardless of the luxuries or appearances that divide us so much in life.
Although there are many myths that are related to it, the truth is that the oldest correspond to the Mexica civilization. From this it follows the existence of mictlantecuhtli y Mictecacihuatl: some husbands who were in charge of ruling the underworld and determining which souls could reach it.
Al tlalocan those who had died in the water or if they had been struck by lightning went; to the Mictlan they went if his death had natural causes; to the tonatiuhihuicac The women who had died in childbirth and the warriors who shed their blood in the battle ranks went; and finally there was the chichihuacuauhco, to which babies who died before or during birth went.
Over the years, and more formally during the times of Benito Juarez, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada y Porfirio Diaz, according to the history expert Alex Heredia, the skeletons and skulls accompanied by texts in some newspapers, magazines and prints of the time began to form part of the ironic criticism about the situation of poverty and inequality in the country, where the habits of the privileged classes were pointed out as a cause of this palpable lag in Mexico, reason why the satirical figure became in the beginning of 1900 in a very popular element between the population and the famous "combat newspapers".
Due to this wide acceptance that they began to enjoy, various cartoonists and journalists as Santiago Hernandez, Constantino Escalante, Manuel Manila y Jose Guadalupe Posada They bet on accentuating the festive character of this figure, as well as the critical wit that defined the Mexican people at this time, the latter enjoying the most outstanding notoriety.
In 1910, originally under the title The Garbancera Skull in order to exploit the term of the chickpea, the one who, despite having indigenous blood, pretended to be European and denied his own culture, who were later referred to as the Malinchistas, Posada made his striking drawing, accompanied by the ideal: “Death is democratic , since, after all, blonde, brunette, rich or poor, all people end up being skulls ”.
Posada's work was directed above all at the working class, highlighting the inequalities and suffering of the people through satire. Criticizing the excesses of the political classes and at the same time portraying the lifestyle of the common Mexican, rather than capturing the solemnity of death, their skulls are full of vitality: their characters dance, ride bicycles and gather to celebrate parties.
Source: Yadira Leos González
Despite his extensive work and varied work, Posada died almost anonymously, as poor as he was born, and it was not until one of his greatest admirers, the muralist Diego Rivera lor included in one of his most famous murals, I dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central, that due attention began to be paid to him.
There, Catrina is one of the central figures of the piece, where in addition to carrying her characteristic hat, she wears a Frenchified dress and a feather boa that evokes Quetzalcoatl, the great Mexica god. On his right side is Posada, who offers him his arm gallantly.
Over the years, and largely thanks to the diffusion of Diego, other artists took up the character until consolidating it as a representative image, with which this term has been transformed from social criticism to this idea of proposing peace to death. honoring and welcoming him instead of rejection and fear of a destiny that ultimately no one can escape.
Today, through the food, the flowers, the drinks, the colors and the smells, the tradition and the image of this endearing skull that carries the hearts of those who have come before us, it has crossed borders and has taken root in many other parts of the world.