Calaveras or Day of the Dead Rhymes

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The Calaveras or Day of the Dead rhymes are satirical verses published in the Day of the Dead by newspapers and magazines. They are also made in schools, offices and houses as an amusement for coworkers, friends or family.

The verses are satirical epitaphs that represent the hypothetic death circumstances of a politician, a celebrity, a political party, a place, a profession, a situation or just a friend or acquaintance. Most times the rhymes are accompanied by a cartoon, played by skeletons, that represents the events narrated in the verses.

History
The tradition of these verses began in the end of 19th century in Mexico City with publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and lithographer Manuel Manila, together they published leaflets with skulls and skeletons representing satirical verses written by Rafael Romero, Manuel Flores del Campo, Ramon N. Franco, Francisco Ozacar, Pablo Calderon de la Becerra y Constancio Suarez.

In 1888 Jose Guadalupe Posada joined the team and with his great genius and enormous talent the rhymes became not only an economic success but a cultural reference.

It was in this gender that Posada created la Calavera Garbancera that later became La Catrina the iconic image of death in modern Mexican culture.

The Calavera is a graphic and lyric art manifestation that portrays the political and social problems and cultural aspects of the time it is written in.

They were created to let the people know the real situation the country was going through. In a time when censorship was imposed to all the media Venegas and Posada succeeded at describing in a satirical way the injustice and social inequity that prevailed in the country.


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Those garbanceras who today are coated with makeup will end up as deformed skulls


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Everybody take the hat off to the brave calavera that just arrived

The Calavera Nowadays
Nowadays newspapers and political magazines cartoonists continue with the tradition created by Venegas Arroyo and his team and publish cartoons with rhymes about current situations. Schools organize calavera contests and the epitaphs are often related to teachers or alumni of the school.


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