Face Painting for Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead

Posted on 11/16/2016 6:25:29 PM

To help celebrate the 2016 Day of the Dead, face painters set up their open studio on the round outdoor tables in front of the IUP Humanities and Social Sciences building.

Beth Swope painting a facePeople passing by got into the Día de los Muertos mode on November 2 by getting their face painted like a sugar skull.

Artistic face painting volunteers were Pamela Castillo-Herrera, Savannah Santiago, Sarah Zielinski, Beth Swope, Rachel Eisenburg, and Rachel Sheehan.

Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout many Latin American countries, in particular those with a highly indigenous population. It is celebrated on November 1 and November 2. During those days it is believed that the souls of the loved ones return to earth to visit with and provide advice to the family left behind.

Normally during the Days of the Dead, the family visits the graveyard to decorate the loved one’s grave with flowers and candles, often eating at the gravesite and telling stories about the one who has passed. If visiting the grave site is not possible, or in addition to visiting the graveyard, altars are made in the home. The family usually decorates the altars with flowers, candles, favorite food dishes and treats the loved one enjoyed in life, and a picture of the deceased.

Painting faces and eating sugar skulls is all part of celebrating and of understanding that death is part of the circle of life. To acknowledge death’s existence is to learn to respect the brevity of life without fear.

Visit Día de los Muertos for pictures and videos from previous IUP Day of the Dead celebrations.

Rachel Sheehan and Sarah Zielinski at the face-painting tablesPamela Castillo-Herrera and Savannah Santiago painting faces during Day of the Dead

Latin American Studies