Masks and Costumes

The masks in the Dia de Muertos celebration contain symbolism of both Catholic beliefs and religions of idigenous Mexican people.

Most masks (calacas - skeletons) imitate the design of a skull (calavera). Since death was a positive step toward a higher level of consciousness, the skull for the Aztecs was a positive symbol of rebirth.

In Mexico many wear a traditionsal skull mask. It is more common in celebrations in the USA to paint the design on the face.

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People paint their face
with a variety of masks,
often reminiscent of older traditions,
sometimes original designs,
as with this lady.
Traditional design
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