The Dame of Dead

Wait… It is not a horror film. It is what happened in Mexico in October 2020 after the eruption of the volcano Popocatépeti. A cloud of ash and rocks took the shape of a big skull, high in the sky.

Popocatépeti is an active volcano on the border of Mexico. It is about 5,550 meters high. Its name comes from the Aztec “smoking mountain”. This volcano erupted several times in the past, but the eruption of 2020 was really particular: during it an enormous skull appeared in the sky and people thought there was a connection to the “Day of Dead”, celebrated in Latin America. The “Day Of Dead is one of the most recognized events that is celebrated throughout Messico. This celebration is rich in rituals and expresses the particular relationship that Mexicans have with Death and with their ancestors. It is a spiritual time to reflect and to appreciate life. During this festival you can see skulls everywhere: they are painted on children’s faces or on women’s clothes and there are skulls in the streets and in the shops selling souvenirs and emblems of this event.

The skull, wearing a much – embroidered bonnet with flowers – represents in Latin American culture “La Catrina” or “The Dame of Dead”.

With her smile, she reminds people that there is perhaps comfort in an acceptance of mortality and that the death should be commemorated not feared. She “tells” people that everybody has the same destiny: the reduction to bones.

This probably sounds like a scary and cruel message, but it underlines that we are all the same in the world, no matter we are rich or poor, and that we should be less selfish and live our lives appreciating what we have.

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Sara Miceli


II B – Furci Siculo


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