How to Make Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead

Image courtesy of mexicansugarskulls.com

 

Sugar art has been created in Mexico since colonial times. For the Day of the Dead, sugar skulls represented a departed soul, with the name of the person being honored written on the forehead. The skulls were then placed on home altars (ofrendas) or gravestones in honor of that soul’s return. Today, the skulls are also popular gifts. Like valentines, sugar skulls are exchanged by friends and sweethearts as a token of an affection and love that will transcend death. (If this seems like a strange idea, you may want to ready our post about Day of the Dead imagery.)

The sugar skulls sold in the markets for Day of the Dead are made using a complicated process involving boiled sugar and clay molds. But you can easily make your own skulls at home with just sugar, meringue powder, water, and special plastic molds.

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On Death and Dying

We don’t like to think about it, but Dag Hammarskjold was right. Our attitude toward death very much impacts the way we choose to live:

In the last analysis it is our

conception of death which decides our

answers to all the questions

that life puts before us.

Dag Hammarskjold

***

To the inhabitant of New York, Paris, or London,

death is a word that is never uttered because it burns the lips.

The Mexican on the other hand, frequents it, mocks it,

caresses it, sleeps with it, entertains it;

it is one of his favorite playthings and his most enduring love.

Octavio Paz

The Labyrinth of Solitude

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