Earlier this week, actress Kate Hudson made a splash strutting about in “sugar skull” chic, with her face painted in “homage to the Day of the Dead” as described by US Magazine.
Traditionally, sugar skulls — known as calaveras — are associated with the Day of the Dead — El Dia de los Muertos — a hemispheric American holiday celebrated near the end of October or the beginning of November, with the official celebrations taking place on November 1 and 2 by people in Mexico, Guatemala, the United States, and some South American nations. The ubiquitous symbols of the Day of the Dead — calaveras, elaborate artistic representations of a dead aristocratic woman (La Catrina) and flowers such as marigolds — not only ordain altars in homes and cemeteries, but find their into museums, menus, suburban jack-o-lanterns, art shows, clothing, and Hollywood runways.
The traditions surrounding el Dia de los Muertos are prime examples of the process of transculturation — the processes in which people allocate elements of their native culture and meld them with ingredients of an “invasive” culture to create fresh combinations and in some way mitigate the undesirable elements of said introduced culture.
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