Photo: Sugar skulls, courtesy of Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs, CC via Flickr
Sugar skulls play an important part in the celebration known as The Day of the Dead, or El Día de los Muertos. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, people celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1 and 2, so it coincides with Halloween and All Souls’ Day. Tradition says that on these days, the spirits of departed loved ones come back to visit the living.
Italian missionar￼ies brought marzipan to the New World in the seventeenth century, and this “sugar art” blended perfectly with the Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead. With plenty of sugar but not enough money to purchase expensive church decorations, people learned how to make their own sugar art.
Photo: Sugar skulls (c) marcviln via iStock Photo
Sugar skulls represented a departed soul, sometimes with the name written on the forehead of the skull. They are prepared far in advance of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations. People create sugar skulls to use as decoration, in competitions, for offerings at grave sites. Some people start preparing sugar skulls two to six months before the celebration. Today, people make delicious versions of skull cookies, chocolate, and candy.