Catrina, also known as Caveira Garbanceira, is a fictional character created by the Mexican illustrator Juan Guadalupe Posada and popularized by the illustrious Mexican painter, Diego Rivera.
Catrina and the Day of the Dead
The character created by Juan Guadalupe Posada is nothing more than a simple skull. In fact, a portrait of Mexican society is created through his illustrations, especially the joys and sorrows of a people who lived in deep crisis and presented great social differences.
Catrina and the other skulls from her stories are dressed in evening clothes and participate in lively parties on the Day of the Dead
With these representations, the author expresses a double message : the hypocrisy of society and, at the same time, the demystification of death, an essential aspect of Mexican culture that comes from pre-Columbian civilizations and later integrated into the Catholic tradition.
On the other hand, through the character Catrina, the author criticized a sector of society, those popularly known as garbanceiros, that is, people with indigenous blood who intended to be European, therefore renouncing their culture and roots.
Catrina became a cultural reference and this led the painter Diego Rivera to immortalize a mural with the title “Dream of a Sunday afternoon at Alameda Central”. Based on these antecedents, the image of Catrina, a skull that has an elegant and striking hat, is part of the Mexican national symbology and of the collective imagination. For this reason, in the commemoration of the Day of the Dead, Catrina’s costume is one of the most popular.
In the movie “The Book of Life”
In 2014 came the big screen the film the movie “The Book of Life” (The Book of Life ), a romantic comedy animation that tells the story of Manolo, a bullfighter that has no value to kill a bull, and Joaquim, one humble man in love with Mary, as well as other secondary characters.
In addition to the human characters, two spirits appear: Xibalba, the lord of a Mexican hell called the king of the Land of the Forgotten, and Catrina, who represents death and is the queen of the Land of the Remembered. In this way, history takes place in the world of the living, but is present in the world of the dead. And for the plot to have an ingredient of social criticism associated with the traditional Catrina , there is a clear denunciation of bullfighting as a barbaric spectacle, a controversial issue in current Mexican society.