The art of sugar skulls

Dead Day Mexico Skulls Set

Sugar skulls have become popular as an art form, but how many people actually know their history?  Sugar skulls originated in Mexico to celebrate All Saints Day on November 1, and All Hollow’s Day on November 2.  The festivities start at midnight on October 31st.

The tradition is for families to decorate their loved one’s ofrenda, an alter with a deceased loved one’s remembrances, with a handmade sugar skull.  Children who have passed are represented with a small sugar skull placed on November 1st while adults are made a larger skull and placed on November 2nd.  The skulls are decorated with bright colors and when used as an offering, the name of the deceased is written across the forehead.

Sugar skulls are made from a paste, primarily made from sugar, hot water and lemon. The paste is molded into a shape of a skull and allowed to harden to decorate it later.

These days, sugar skulls are a popular folk art icon that adorns T-shirts, aprons, mugs and many other items.  Sugar skulls are given as gifts to loved ones and are made from chocolate or other kinds of candy.

The tradition of sugar skulls dates back to pre-Columbian times.  Back then, images of skulls were often shown in paintings and on pottery, and represented the rebirth into the next stage of life.



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