The Day of the Dead Ladies of Puerto Vallarta

As I went through my photos for today’s post, I noticed that almost all of the human size sculptures were women. I wonder why?

The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a seriously fun holiday in Puerto Vallarta and throughout Mexico where the dearly departed are celebrated with hopes that the celebration will help them on their journey. People dress up in dead-people skeleton costumes, altars are established, and special foods are prepared. Gaily decorated skulls and skeletons are everywhere. Peggy and I have yet to be in Mexico when the event takes place (which is at the end of October/beginning of November), but the skulls and skeletons are still around, lots of them.

The skulls seem to represent both sexes equally, although this one seems to have a feminine cast to it. The gold teeth made me think of the dentist’s chair, a place I am all too familiar with. Ouch!

Of the life-size sculptures, I photographed, I could only find one man. This led me to speculate, naturally, as to why. I don’t think there is a reason particular to the holiday. About an equal number of men and women die, right. So is it that the girls dress up prettier, or that their eyes are more beautiful, or is it some other attribute, like the colorful bosom of the top photo.

Obviously, clothing is important, and you can do so much more with hats!
And certainly this woman with her red flowers and curls is well-dressed.
The hat and the boas lit up the lady from an earlier year. But what’s with the dead roses?
The eyes have it here…
And here. Same girl dressed up differently it would seem.
Remember the Red Hat Ladies. How about a long necked Red Hat Lady?
This gal had something to say. But I am not sure you would want to hear it.
Here was my only large guy sculpture. I had to go back in time to find it.
Smaller sculptures are found in the shops, often representing Huichol art.
Another example but probably not Huichol art since it is lacking in Huichol symbolism. (More on this in a later post.)
The red fingernails were a nice touch.
Peggy and I were walking down one of Puerto Vallarta’s road and came on this lady walking her dog.
And then there was this tile of a man out walking his dog— a dog that has a mission on its mind. Humor is an important part of the Day of the Dead.
Here’s a lady monkeying around.
A lady on a tile…
And a lady on a dish. Once again, the hat is an important item of clothing.
Skulls are found just about everywhere.
And are creatively decorated, with clouds, for example.
And with hearts.
You could have your kitchen decorated with Day of the Dead tiles. Maybe even peace symbols.
The Huichol have their own versions…
I conclude my Day of the Dead collection with this fellow. Just possibly, he had imbibed a little too much Huichol peyote!

NEXT POST: I am back on the PCT making my way between Carson Pass and Sonora Pass.

32 thoughts on “The Day of the Dead Ladies of Puerto Vallarta

  1. Gorgeous images. Each region does have their own style.
    Closer to travel to San Antonio area for Dis de los muertos sometime – much the same there as families gather items for their family shrines (and sugar skulls for the kids). Even here our local grocery stores will have a section which is larger than their Halloween items. Of course there’s the elaborate costumes (not to be worn for Halloween) and large yard inflatables.
    Strange beauty indeed

    • Wherever Mexicans gather in large numbers, Phil, the Day of the Dead celebrations seem big. I’m sure that Texas sees a lot of the holiday. I really do want to make it to Mexico one of these days for the festival/celebration, but maybe I can find a local celebration in the meantime. –Curt

      • Just look around, it’s there. What I found really interesting was that each region of Mexico has its’ own different artwork and traditions just for that holiday (there are published books about that by Hispanic publishers) – all respected, none criticized as wrong – More example of variations abound when humans are involved – alike but different…

  2. Impressive that when everything else seems to have melted away, the women maintain smart perky breasts. Well, the long necked woman with the red hat is no longer perky, so I imagine she’s older than the others? ha ha. Everyone seems to keep their facial hair after death too. I really have been imagining it all wrong…

    I love this post! The colours are bright and exciting and have really livened up my day (ironically) today, since outside it is grey and raining and cold.

  3. You have to give it to the Mexicans, Curt. Life enjoyed to the max and even after death the carnival goes on. A kaleidoscope of joy and art, the perfect philosophy. Compare that with cold, barren wind swept forgotten grave-yards here in Australia and elsewhere where facing death is to be expressed in avoiding it at all costs.

    • Good comment, Gerard. More like an Irish wake where sorrow and celebration are brought together in a good old-fashioned drinking party. I have a real aversion to casket-based funerals, much preferring a memorial celebration where friends and family get together to celebrate a life. –Curt

    • That guy definitely looked like he had finished off a bottle of tequila! 🙂 They all have a sense of ‘let your imagine run wild,’ Gunta. The hats alone speak volumes about artistic license. –Curt

    • The Grateful Dead are often up for a little after life celebration, especially in their poster art. Good choice, Linda. And I am often amused when I pay close attention to the words. 🙂 –Curt

    • I don’t think of them as frightening, Sue, like I do an open casket, for example. Mainly, I find them humorous, but the concept is thought-provoking, like a much more serious Halloween could be. I’ve noticed that most of them are laughing, like the joke is on us. 🙂 –Curt

  4. I’ve always found skeletons to be . . . well, sorta scary. No idea why. But the more I learn about Day of the Dead celebrations, the more I realize the culture of paying tribute to those who have gone before. These colorful renditions are fabulous, and I wish I could see them up close and personal. Love these.

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