Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated on October 31st and November 1st and 2nd. In Mexico, celebrants build ofrendas, altars to the deceased, with photos, candles, and the favorite foods of those who have moved on. In Brazil, families visit churches, then visit cemeteries. In Spain, celebrants enjoy festivals and parades throughout certain neighborhoods. Wherever the holiday is observed, the spirits of the departed are welcomed back to this world with specific symbols; calaveras (sugar skulls), masses of stylized flowers, and dressed skeletons.
The roots of the holiday go back more than 3,000 years ago, to the age of the Aztecs and a ritual that celebrated the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The skulls and flowers symbolized death and rebirth. In the 15th century, Spanish conquistadores were aghast at a ritual that seemed to mock death. In an attempt to make the ceremony more Christian, the Spaniards moved the event to All Saints’ Day, but the symbology remained, growing more fanciful and varied through the generations.
The central figure of our Day of the Dead blanket represents the colorful wooden skull masks or calacas that celebrants wear as they dance to honor their dead relatives. The wooden skulls, decorated sugar skulls and marigolds are placed at gravesites and altars for the departed. The blanket’s bright colors and festive images of flowers and mariachi musicians capture the spirit of the celebration. This blanket inspired a collaboration with GNU and Barrett Christie, which you can see and read about here: Women Who Shred
We have a related pattern called Sugar Skulls based on one of the elements in the Day of the Dead blanket. It’s used in fabric, an array of bags and Diego the bear. Our patterns capture the spirit of joyful welcome as celebrated by people all over the world during Dia de los Muertos.