The Calaveras Festival is one of Aguascalientes’ biggest attractions. Year after year, at the end of October and the beginning of November, the city turns into a picturesque celebration of those who have passed on. The festival has been held every year for the last twenty years. The idea came about and was developed in 1995, when the State Governor, Carlos Lozano de la Torre, was the Economic Development Minister.
The rationale behind this colorful festival was to rescue and preserve the traditions of the Day of the Dead and to pay homage to one of Mexico’s greatest artists José Guadalupe Posada who is internationally-acclaimed for his engravings and illustrations, and was born in Aguascalientes. Posada created the “Calavera Garbancera” (the Chick-pea Vendor Skeleton) who was later dubbed “La Catrina” by Diego Rivera. Every year she hosts and adorns the Calaveras Festival and is an international symbol of Mexico’s festive approach to death.
We invite you to experience the Calaveras Festival at the Isla San Marcos where you can enjoy the magic, beauty and mysticism of the occasion. Revel in performance art that brings to life the characters created by José Guadalupe Posada.
Live the festival to its fullest by enjoying handicraft exhibits, treating your taste-buds to delicious local cuisine, getting into the groove of local music at concerts and checking out the streets of this historic city on the theme-based streetcar tours. There are also plenty of events to enjoy and plenty of pavilions with activities organized just for you. Don’t forget to try the delicious bread, made especially for the Day of the Dead.
Also, don’t miss the fabulous traditional Calaveras Parade, whose themes change and evolve every year. The troupes and allegorical floats pass along Madero Avenue, one of the major thoroughfares in the historic downtown area.
Once you’ve seen the Festival you’ll want to come back every year to relive this unique experience which will evoke very special memories of the Day of the Dead.
Music, theater, culture, fun, tradition and entertainment await you in Aguascalientes. Come and live the Calaveras Festival!
La Catrina is an engraving in metal created in 1912 by José Guadalupe Posada. Acknowledged as one of Mexico’s greatest artists, he was born in Aguascalientes in 1852.
Posada originally named his new creation the Calavera Garbancera, which at the time was a reference to chickpea vendors who, despite being indigenous, put on European airs, thereby spurning their own race, heritage and culture.
Largely because she represents the way that Mexicans caricature death and poke fun at it. This tendency has found expression in many artistic and cultural creations throughout Mexican history.
In fact, it was Diego Rivera who immortalized her with the name Catrina in one of his murals, where he appears arm in arm with La Catrina while Frida Kahlo stands just behind them. This image turned La Catrina into a popular folk character, and is now identified with Mexican culture around the world.
From a graphic and aesthetic perspective, the ellipse of the lines, the perfect proportions and the rich expression make La Catrina an enduring masterpiece.
Her elaborate shapes and her mischievous, flirtatious smile display the paradox of the pleasure of living and the imminence of death, reminding us that life is here and now.
You can take a photo of yourself with the original metal engraving at the Posada Museum in Aguascalientes, where it is on display along with many other of Posada’s works.
Also in Aguascalientes, you can visit the Museum of Death (with more than 2000 death-related exhibits), photograph the Cerro del Muerto outlined by wonderful sunsets, and take a tour to discover the Legends of Aguascalientes in the historic downtown and four traditional neighborhoods. If you visit in late October/early November you can experience and enjoy the Day of the Dead celebrations and the Calaveras Festival, featuring festivities, altars to the dead, the parade with costumes and allegorical floats, concerts, shows, plays, nighttime cemetery visits and much more.