Once again this year, the Weltmuseum Wien is celebrating the Mexican Festival of the Dead, known as the Día de los Muertos, in collaboration with Mexican artists and other partners. The deceased are remembered and honored in a solemn atmosphere. In the Hall of Columns we invite you to the procession and the presentation of the altar of death (altar de muertos) created especially for the Weltmuseum Wien. Furthermore a colorful Mexican cultural program awaits you.
Altar de Muertos
20 October – 8 November 2022 - Free to visit!
Mexican artist Stephany Daphne Rodríguez Cabañas has designed an impressive altar for the Hall of Columns at Weltmuseum Wien. The Altar de Muertos, also known as La Ofrenda, is the centrepiece of Día de los Muertos and is meant to welcome the souls of the deceased into the realm of the living, lavishly adorned. The Altar de Muertos is decorated with offerings commemorating the deceased. On the altar one usually finds La Catrina, Pan de Muerto, sugar skulls, and drinks. Stephany Daphne Rodríguez Cabañas will tell us what all these things are about and which traditions still accompany Día de los Muertos in the course of numerous workshops and performances!
Exhibition of works on Día de los Muertos
20 October – 8 November 2022 - Free to visit!
The students of 1Me Volkschule Friedrichsplatz have created works together with the artist Stephany Cabanas Rodriguez on the occasion of Día de los Muertos. Their artworks will be on display at FamilyPoint, which is open to the public free of charge, from 20 October 2022 to 8 November 2022.
The Day of the Dead is not a funeral event, but a colourful folk festival in honour of the dead. According to popular belief, the souls of the deceased return to visit their families on these days. During the days, the focus is on commemorating the deceased.
The streets are decorated with flowers. Skeletons and skulls in all kinds of designs are presented in the shop windows. Shortly before All Saints' Day, confectioners produce calaveras de dulce, skulls made of sugar, chocolate or marzipan with the names of the dead on the front. Pan de Muerto, the bread of the dead, is another popular snack during these days.
The altar of the dead
The Ofrendas, traditional altars of the dead or offering tables in the apartments are the centre of the festivities. They are covered with plenty of food and drinks, flowers and personal memorabilia. After their long journey, the dead should regain their strength from the realm of the dead and take some of the gifts back with them. Photos of the deceased, candles and incense are to remind of common times.
On the night of November 2, the souls of the deceased are received in the house, followed by farewell in the cemeteries. There they will eat food they have brought with them, drink, make music and dance. At midnight the time has come for the deceased to return to the afterlife. The festival is over until the dead return next year.
El pan de muerto
The bread of the dead
The bread of the dead is a traditional yeast pastry for the "Día de los muertos" and is baked only for this occasion. On the bread are elongated strips of dough formed to look like bones. This bread was originally shaped like a heart and coloured red. It symbolised the human sacrifice of the Aztecs of the prehispanic period. Decorations vary depending on the region in Mexico.
The elegant lady
Catrina means "wealthy" or "rich" in Spanish. The depiction of the elegantly dressed lady as a skeleton was published - presumably by the Mexican engraver José Guadalupe Posada - as a satire on the opulence of the Mexican upper class around about 1913. In 1947, the famous Mexican artist Diego Riviera depicted this figure in a mural and thus helped her to gain popularity. Over the years, "La Catrina" became a symbol of the Día de los muertos and is therefore often depicted during these celebrations.
Face makeup à la Catrina
It is customary to wear make-up to celebrate Día de los muertos. The typical make-up is the "catrina": colourful and decorated with jewels, as this day is a happy and life-affirming holiday.
When dreams become reality
The Alebrijes are colourful fantasy figures made of papier-mâché. Pedro Linares, a Mexican handicraft artist, was inspired by his dreams and hallucinations when he was seriously ill and confined to bed, and - once healthy again - created these imaginative colourful creatures out of papier-mâché, which he called Alebrijes.
The Alebrijes were combined with the content of the Día de los muertos celebrations for the first time in the film Coco, 2017. In this way, the film team wanted to show the public the great importance of the alebrijes in Mexican folk art.
Colourful paper garlands
The altars and streets are decorated on the occasion of the festivities with numerous garlands made of artistically cut paper. The colourful paper garlands are designed with matching patterns such as skulls for the Día de los muertos celebrations and are part of traditional Mexican handicrafts.
Day of the Dead videos
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