Holiday Hallmarks

Artist: Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957)
Title: Young Girl With a Mask
Date: 1939
Media: Oil on canvas

This girl is celebrating Días de los Muertos, a holiday that began in ancient Mexico as a celebration to remember loved ones. On this day, families visit gravesites and leave candles, flowers, and food while they sing, eat, and tell stories. Families also decorate skull masks like the one in this girl’s hands, called calacas, to honor their ancestors. 

La muchacha está celebrando el Día de los Muertos, un día festivo que tuvo su origen en la antigüedad de México para celebrar y recordar a los seres queridos. Las familias visitan los sepulcros y dejan velas, flores, y comida mientras cantan, comen, y relatan historias. Las familias también decoran máscaras de calaveras como esta para honrar a sus antepasados. 


Take a moment and listen to Docent Susan Meisler discuss the painting in further detail


View this painting and other Modern artworks in a 3D tour of the Wadsworth’s Avery Court.

Avery Court


The young girl in this painting holds a skull mask. How can you tell it is a mask? How is it decorated? 

La chica joven muchacha de esta pintura tiene en sus manos una máscara de calavera. ¿Cómo sabes que es una máscara? ¿Cómo está decorada?


Diego Rivera was from Mexico. He liked to paint scenes from everyday life and feature his Mexican community. Why do you think this was important to him? 

Diego Rivera era de México. Le gustaba pintar escenas de la vida diaria y su comunidad mexicana. ¿Por qué crees que esto era importante para él? 


What special holidays does your family celebrate and why? 

¿Qué día de fiesta celebra tu familia y por qué? 

Think of an object that is an important part of a holiday for you. Draw a picture of yourself holding that object. 

Piensa en un objeto que sea una parte importante para ti de un día de fiestaDibuja un auto retrato con ese objeto en tus manos. 


Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez celebrates the holiday season with Aguinaldos, the Puerto Rican version of caroling. The maracas are a prominent percussion instrument played during these festive gatherings and are featured in everything from folk songs to Salsa. Watch as Marisely constructs maracas using recycled toilet paper rolls and rice. Grab your household materials and create alongside her.


Where is Little Night hiding? Listen to Docent Augusta Gonzalez read about the journey of Mother Sky and Little Night in the bilingual book Little Night/Nochecita by YuYu Morales.