The beachside paradise of Cabo Azul may be known for endless days of relaxation and sunbathing, but for a few days a year, the team members transform the resort’s Chapel into an exhibit of Day of the Dead traditions.
So when souls rise on November 1, the team at Cabo Azul is prepared to greet them.
Dive into history with this guide to Day of the Dead and the Altares y Catrinas competition held each year at Cabo Azul Resort.
Day of the Dead
For centuries, Day of the Dead has been celebrated in Mexico to honor lost family members. The tradition comes from a belief that, on All Soul’s Day, the souls of lost family members can come back into the world for just a little while. The altars — adorned with photographs, sugar skulls, colorful flowers, food, personal objects, candles and more — guide the spirits back to their families.
Altares y Catrinas
Wondering why Day of the Dead is famous for painted skulls and extravagant dress?
The answer is Catrina.
Catrina’s likeness began as a satirical political statement by artist Jose Guadalupe Posada in the 1900s. He drew a fanciful female skeleton wearing a big feathered hat to represent the ridiculous idolization of European aristocrats at the time. Later, Diego Rivera — famous artist and husband to Frida Khalo — painted a mural of La Catrina that depicted the likeness of her that we know today. La Catrina is a symbol for Day of the Dead festivities, as a strong depiction of Mexican afterlife that the altar displays reflect in their color and extravagance.
Celebrating at Cabo Azul Resort
The team members at Cabo Azul Resort celebrate Day of the Dead every year by holding their own Altares y Catrinas competition. Each department within the team bands together to make their altar. One male and one female in each group will dress up as Catrin and Catrina to finish it off.
While alters created at home will be dedicated to family members — personalized with favorite food, drinks and objects for those in the afterlife — the team members will craft their altars in honor of famous Mexican artists.
Once completed, the altars are judged by resort executives and managers and a winner is announced. After the competition, the altars remain on display so guests can roam the exhibition and experience the historic Mexican culture for themselves.