Celebrating the Day of the Dead

Celebrating the Day of the Dead
Celebrating the Day of the Dead

On November 1st, the Day of the United Dead (Día de los Muertos) begins to honor those that have passed away. You might wonder why people celebrate with sugar skulls along with flowers. Learn about this tradition in this blog article!

What is Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is observed from November 1st to November 2nd. It remembers family members who have passed away with gatherings where people share memories and give thanks for guiding spirits. The celebration started in Mexico, but it has spread widely throughout the Americas. How is Day of the Dead observed?
Most of the time, family members or friends gather together to build community and remember their loved ones

History of sugar skulls

The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries to commemorate loved ones who have passed on. It takes place in early November, when relatives traditionally visit the gravesites of their departed loved one and decorate them with items such as flowers and candies. Other items included in the tradition is that of sugar skulls (calavera). Sugar skulls are sweets molded until they resemble skulls, which can be displayed around the house in various shapes and sizes.

Sugar skull traditions

It's a tradition to make sugar skulls using sugar and crêpes batter to create a detailed mannequin type image. But what's typically associated with Day of the Dead? You guessed it: bread - breadnuts, loaves, cakes, twists and more. The bread moradas (red) are made to honor those who have passed away, but it's also eaten as part of the feasts where many people will gather together for festive celebrations.

Decorating the sugar skull

Traditionally, sugar skulls are created by using a lithography technique. The artist plasters the skull mold with a thin layer of white sugar, then transfers it to an oven made specifically for this purpose. After cooling, painters use tempera paint to decorate the front side of the skull, perhaps with colorfully simplistic floral designs or death-related symbols like scythes and hourglasses.

Modern day Day of the Dead celebrations

Painting altars with sugar skulls, creating sepulchers for loved ones, and spending time with family are just some of the ways that this holiday is celebrated in Mexico. It began as an indigenous tradition long before Catholicism arrived in Mexico, but it has become an important holiday over time.

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