73.4 F
Mérida
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
###

The art of papel picado is steeped in Mexican tradition

Latest headlines

2 Cuban migrants die in shipwreck off Yucatán coast

Unofficial reports claim that Mexican authorities helped 19 people to disembark the badly damaged ship.

Angels: What makes Adele Aguirre’s new art exhibit at SoHo Galleries so moving

Adele Aguirre's "Angels" exhibit at SoHo Galleries responds to a personal crisis, but will be cathartic to everyone suffering loss. ...

Frustrated animal rights activists blockade Mérida shelter

The protestors set up camp outside of the facility and took to laying on mats and pieces of cardboard to demonstrate their commitment to settling the issue without violence.

Property taxes in Mérida to increase in 2022

Property taxes across Mérida are about to see a considerable increase. 
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up to get our top headlines delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Yuriria Independencia Torres Alfaro in her papel workshop. Photo: La Bandurria Marcha


Whether mass-produced or handmade, those colorful rows of perforated paper, or papel picado, represent a Mexican folk-art tradition that has endured since pre-Hispanic times.

And it remains a popular icon for festivities such as the Day of the Dead.

In Xochimilco, Yuriria Independencia Torres Alfaro has been a papel picado artisan for 30 years. Her craft was handed down from her father, Alberto Torres y Cordero, who learned it from his father.

“Since I was a little girl I liked to draw … I also like the traditions, combining the papel picado and the drawing. The tradition, is what I was passionate about … preserving and spreading this ancestral technique,” said Torres Alfaro in an interview with the wire service Notimex.

A website called Mexican Skull Sugar sells handmade banners, said to be handmade by a 74-year-old papel picado master in Puebla.

While plastic knockoffs are about US$10 for 15 feet, the authentic, large paper banners have 10 panels and extend 18 feet long, selling for $US18. One panel has a detailed skeleton bride and groom and the other says “amor eterno” (“eternal love”) over flowers and sugar skulls.

Or for those “not into the skeleton thing,” the company offers custom designs. Their wedding banners, which were featured in Martha Stewart’s wedding magazine, can display the names of the bride and groom.

Torres Alfaro, interviewed in her workshop and surrounded by young workers, said that when her father retired, she turned a hobby into a career. The retired teacher now works full time promoting the Mexican tradition.

She recalled that as a child she drew pets, faces and landscapes, but her father started the workshop drawing the ancient glyphs of Xochimilco.

For the Day of the Dead, customers mainly request skull designs, but the rest of the year, birds or flowers are in demand.

Torres Alfaro’s work is seen throughout the country and the United States. Her work is also found with the original pre-Historic versions, made from tree bark, at the Museo Dolores Olmedo and the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City.

See her video here:

Papel Picado from LA BANDURRIA MARCHA on Vimeo.

- Advertisement -

Subscriptions make great gifts

More articles

Cacaxtla and the mystery of its spectacular Maya murals

The Cacaxtla-Xochitécatl archaeological site is one of the most interesting and unique in all of Mexico. Aside from its massive structures and breathtakingly beautiful vistas, this ancient city in Central Mexico boasts a rather out-of-place feature — Maya murals. 

Mexico skeptical over new travel restrictions

Restricting travel or closing borders is of little use in response to the emergence of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, said Mexico's...

CFE to invest billions to improve Yucatán’s energy infrastructure

Large CFE facility on Mérida’s Periferico. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht The CFE announced that it will...

What to find in a Yucatecan Christmas market

Located right in front of the high school Centro Universitario Montejo, the market hosts slow-food vendors on the weekends and maintains its crafts and decor market all throughout the week.

Feminists unveil a monument to protest violence against women

Feminist protestors unveiled a monument in Mérida’s Remate at the foot of the Paseo de Montejo to protest ongoing violence against women. 

Mérida to hold a week-long tango festival, starting tonight

Mérida's international tango festival is set to return for a full calendar week starting Nov. 25.

Adventurous pup illegally climbs Yucatán’s most famous landmark at Chichén Itzá

Once again, a clandestine visitor has broken the rules at Chichén Itzá by climbing Kukulcán’s famed pyramid. 

Mérida’s railway museum goes full steam ahead

One of the most under-visited attractions in Mérida is the Museo de Ferrocarriles de Yucatán, Yucatán’s Railway Museum.

Feel brave enough to eat an eyeball taco? Mérida’s taco festival has you covered

Taco connoisseurs are prepreparing to host Mérida's Festival del Taco next weekend. 

A giant hammock has suddenly appeared in the Centro, but why?

The sudden appearance of a giant hammock in downtown Mérida is drawing eyes.