‘Calaveras Pintadas’ and Natgeo

Calaveras Pintadas by Sampath Menon

This is one of those little joys of life (the micro-happiness bits) that helps you keep going when nothing else is really working for you: my ‘Calaveras Pintadas‘ photograph (shown above) was selected to be a part of a Nat Geo bundle of images featuring the ‘Day of the dead’ celebrations!

Here’s the link to the gallery: Celebrating the Departed: Day of the Dead, in pictures – National Geographic

(Note: If you would like to order prints of this ‘Day of the dead skulls’ image, please visit https://sampathmk.darkroom.tech)

Day of the Dead, and Calaveras

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday where families honour their dead ones and welcome back their souls for a brief reunion that includes food, drink, and celebration. As per tradition, the gates of heaven are opened on October 31 at midnight. Spirits of children can meet their families for a day. The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2.

What is Calaveras Pintadas

A calavera is a representation of a human skull. It could be edible or decorative made from either sugar or clay. The photograph I made is that of decorative skulls (Calaveras Pintadas). ‘Day of the dead skulls’ are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. Families decorate their loved ones’ ofrendas (offerings) with both large and small handmade sugar skulls. As per belief, the souls return home to enjoy the offering on the altar. If you have watched the animated super hit movie, Coco, it will give you a good idea about these traditions.

A shop with a painted skull image – near Coyoacan, Mexico City.

Decorative dolls from San Angel

A painter at work

Note: If you would like a framed copy of the skulls photo, you can order one here: https://sampathmk.darkroom.tech/products/824108


  1. Ravi Shetty November 3, 2019
  2. Sampath Menon November 4, 2019

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