Vivan los Muertos!
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexico’s Day of the Dead (well, actually, it’s two days, but most people just clump the duo holidays under the same moniker) is a vibrant part of the country’s rich and multifaceted culture, drawing on a combination of pre-Hispanic and colonial heritage.
An uncanny celebration of life and a tribute to the memory of those who have passed on to the afterlife, Mexico’s Día de Muertos is modern holiday with indigenous roots dating back thousands of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to the Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead).
At first, the Spanish missionaries tried to abolish the practice of the celebration of death, but they soon realized that it is hard to wipe out a tradition that dates back over 3,000 years, so instead, they decided to embrace the holiday, tweaking the date on the Aztec solar calendar to accommodate the Christian calendar to coincide with the Catholic All Saints’ Day holiday.
And even though the tradition of celebrating the Día de Muertos dates back centuries, the festivities today are as vibrant as ever, with virtually every Mexican town and municipality getting into the jubilee of death groove.
The holiday is so poplar that many Mexicans have turned the entire month of October into a Día de Muertos fest.
So grab some pan de muerto (sprinkled with raw sugar and spiked with anise), put on your best La Catrina face makeup and get out there and join in the festivities.
After all, where else in the world will you have so much fun fêting the macabre?
Kicking off the Revelry
The Day of the Dead may be a uniquely Mexican holiday, but that hasn’t kept international brands from jumping on the pushing-up-daisies bandwagon.
The Massachusetts-based footwear company Reebok, for example, has just released a Día de Muertos-inspired collection of men’s and women’s sneakers that take their cue from traditional Mexican art and handicrafts.
The new Royal Techque sports shoes — fronted by Mexican singer, actress and dancer Maria León and the singer-songwriter Yahir — come in unisex sizes in black and white, and include a Huichol indigenous art design linked to ancient Day of the Dead observances.
Reebok launched a similar collection last year, also inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and fans were dying for another taste of haunting fashion style.
The Reebok X Día de Muertos are a Royal Techque T sports shoes are available in black or white in unisex sizes.
Requiem for the Living
Stradivarius, the Barcelona-based fashion brand owned by the Inditex group, is also getting into the living dead act.
The new Stradivarius Día de Muertos collection includes black leather biker jackets, skinny leather skirts and negligee shift dresses, all with do-or-die elegance that give them a timeless charm.
There are also plenty of black and white T-shirts with flower patterns and skull designs, and a super-soft denim jacket with a skull embroidery.