October brings its fair share of costumes, makeup, and extra candy, but for many Latinx, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, it also means getting ready to remember lost loved ones. Día de los Muertos is a holiday that falls on Nov. 1 and 2, where families and friends gather to pray and remember those who have died, while supporting their spiritual journey. According to tradition, the dead awaken to celebrate with the living during these days.
Mexican textile artist Victoria Villasana is especially fond of this date, honoring her traditions while creating new ones and passing them on to her son. "Día de los Muertos is a bit more personal for me, as I like to share and create an altar at home with my son," Victoria told POPSUGAR. "We dedicate the altar to my Mexican grandfather and my son's British great-grandmother, so we often combine items from both cultures. We also place the traditional symbols, like candles, sugar skulls, marigold flowers, and bread on the altar."
Victoria, a Guadalajara-born artist, is known for her unique and colorful "yarn-bombing" style of portraits, street art, and installations. She loves cultures and the human spirit and combines this in her art while reflecting on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. This made her the perfect person to design this year's limited-edition Día de los Muertos bottle for Tequila Cazadores blanco, available now at local retailers.
"My collaboration with Tequila Cazadores foments my culture by allowing me to share the meaning and aesthetics of Día de los Muertos with those who may not be familiar with the holiday or who do not celebrate the holiday themselves," Victoria said. "I was inspired by the Cazadores Stag and its meaning in indigenous cultures in Mexico. The stag is a messenger, a powerful animal that represents sensitivity and intuition. Just like Día de los Muertos, it represents a connection with our ancestors and the bridge between life and death," she added.
While Victoria doesn't like the "tacky plastic overconsumption" that has taken place given the popularity of Día de los Muertos beyond the cultures where it originated, she does encourage everyone to learn more about it, and if they feel inspired by it, to go ahead and embrace it. "I invite people from everywhere to not be so caught up in the nationalities. For me, it doesn't matter whether you are Mexican or not. You can make your own version of the celebration by taking what you resonate with and leaving what you don't," Victoria said.
"As long as you have positive and have respectful intentions toward the ceremony, that is what counts. The main purpose of the holiday is to honor our ancestors, to honor life, and to remember our loved ones. I believe that purpose can resonate with all humans, regardless of their culture, religion, or nationality."