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Sugar Skulls Navigation menu VideoSignificance of sugar skulls on Day of the Dead
I figured it was the easiest one to carry and also the one that lasts the most in the elements. I was in college in Mexico City, and to get to school, I always had to walk by these vendor stands on my way to the subway.
Soon enough, I started noticing some of these vendors start putting out sugar and chocolate skulls of all sizes on their displays: from skulls so small that I could carry at least five of them in my hand, to skulls so big that they were encased in plastic transparent boxes to facilitate carrying them.
Seeing these sugar skulls displayed throughout all the vendor stands in the city made me pause for a moment.
Throughout school, I had been taught of the meanings of the various offerings in a Day of the Dead altar. As I mentioned before, I had never stopped to think about why they were such an indispensable element of an ofrenda.
It seems a bit morbid to display skulls in an altar, even if those skulls are small, made of sugar, and edible, as well as quite tasty! Why would the offerings in an altar include these sugar skulls?
The reason goes all the way back to prehistoric times, when the skull was a predominant figure in Mesoamerican societies and cultures in various aspects and depictions.
One of these depictions was the tzompantli, a wooden rack in which the skulls of war prisoners or human sacrifices were displayed. These civilizations believed in a spiritual life after death, and so these skulls were an offering to the god of the underworld, Mictlantecuhtli, who would assure a safe passage into the land he ruled.
With the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and their religion, these traditions were lost, and yet a part of them was kept alive by maintaining the figure of the skull in a sweet confection that we can place in our altars as part of our offerings to the deceased.
This paste allows for artisans to mold it into the shape of a skull to later decorate it for display.
While these sweet skulls are found all over Mexico, some states prefer to make these confections with other ingredients, such as almonds, honey and covered with peanuts , amaranth which is kind of like little balls of grain compressed into different shaped , and even gummies!
Production can be a lengthy process: a craftsman will usually spend roughly four to six months producing the skulls for a season.
Traditionally made sugar skulls are considered folk art and are not meant to be consumed. The production process is more focused on the aesthetic appeal of the skull than on the taste or food safety of the product.
Furthermore, many calaveras feature inedible decorations, such as beads, feathers, and foil. Some skulls were formerly decorated with sombreros , although these designs have mostly disappeared since the s.
The calaveras are traditionally sold at outdoor market stalls beginning two weeks before the Day of the Dead. Other calaveras are produced to be edible.
Most are cast as one piece from cane sugar, which can either be left unflavored or else flavored with vanilla. The calaveras are typically colored with vegetable dyes.
As with the more decorative calaveras, these will sometimes have names written on the foreheads, as well. Calaveras may be eaten, or kept for a few days and then thrown away.
Clay toy variations of calaveras also resemble the shape of human skulls. These toys are often painted a metallic silver color, but they may also be found in colors such as white, black, and red.
Beaded eyes of many colors may also be added for decoration. Poetry written for the Day of the Dead are known as literary calaveras , and are intended to humorously criticize the living while reminding them of their mortality.
Living personalities were depicted as skeletons exhibiting recognizable traits, making them easily identifiable. Additionally, drawings of dead personalities often contained text elements providing details of the deaths of various individuals.
Sometimes known as "sugar skull" make-up, or Catrina make-up, facepainting a skull with ornate elements is a popular element of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico.
Girl has face painted in Mexico City , celebrating Day of the Dead , People photographed in Mexico City , celebrating Day of the Dead.
Girls with sugar skull make-up photographed in Mexico City , celebrating Day of the Dead , Girl with sugar skull make-up photographed in Mexico City , celebrating Day of the Dead , Man with sugar skull make-up photographed in Mexico City , celebrating Day of the Dead , From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Mexican skull model made out of sugar or clay. For other uses, see Calaveras disambiguation. Reign Trading Co. Archived from the original on 19 June Retrieved 19 JuneDia de Los Muertos Sugar Skull Chef (Day of the Dead, Culinary) Dia De Los Muertos Chef is an original design inspired by a family chef and our family's Mexican heritage. The day of the dead design depicts a sugar skull clenching a chef's knife in his/her teeth while sporting a chef's hat, surrounded by vegetables. Traditionally, sugar skulls are made in Mexico in the weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead, a meaningful celebration that occurs from the evening of October 1 through November 2. It is a time for honoring and celebrating our loved ones who have passed away. Sugar skulls are given as colorful gifts to the living or placed on altars as offerings for the deceased.
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