When people think of the skull, it’s closely associated with death and dying. The negative imagery has been used throughout time. However, the skull has alternative meanings in other cultures where the dead are more revered than what we do in the States. The candy skull (also known as the sugar skull) are an integral part of Latin and Mexican culture. The Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos, is the day after Halloween. This is the day the dead are honored. The skulls happen to be representations of the dead family and friends that have come back on this special day so people can show their reverence. This day coincides with All Saint’s Day, which is a Catholic holiday. All Saint’s Day was an inspiration to the Day of the Dead where traditions were combined to honor the dead.
More specifically, people celebrating this day believe that at midnight on October 31st, the gates of heaven open wide and all the spirits of the children that have passed are able to reunite with family members for the next 24 hours. The very next day, on November 2nd, the adults are able to join the party.
Because the natives that celebrate this special day believe these festivities will provide them good luck and protection, they spend a great deal of their money preparing for the day. In most villages, the locals will build altars (ofrendas) in their homes for the visiting spirits. On these altars the people will put food, sweets, soda and toys for the children that visit. The next day they will add shots of booze and cigarettes for the adult spirits that will come. The idea is to have plenty of refreshments for these souls as they have traveled far to visit their relatives. They’ll top off the altar with candy skulls as decoration.
The skulls in the Day of the Dead festival symbolize ancestors and family members that has died and have returned on this special day. The candy skull (also known as the Calavera) is created from sugar and can be eaten. They are also made of clay and beautifully decorated. You’ll notice the decorations on the candy skulls are vibrant and colorful. They represent the vibrant lives of ancestors passed.
On November 2nd, the people celebrating the Day of the Dead go to the cemetery to celebrate their lost loved ones. They use this time to leave flowers, clean up the grave site, play cards and reminisce about their loved ones.
We also celebrate this holiday in the States. This could be for many reasons. One school if thought is that because we don’t have a day specifically for honoring our dead like Hispanic cultures do. Others think it’s because of our captivation with magic. Finally, some think it’s just another day to party.
The candy skull tattoo or sugar skull tattoo is a way to honor this day forever. The meaning behind this tattoo is obviously closely related to the Day of the Dead. As in most styles of tattoos, you can have them inked in different ways. The candy skull has been tattooed as being a skull with bright colors and flowers around or on it.
In addition, we must also understand the skull tattoo and what it means to the ancient cultures. In many of these places, the skull can symbolize a celebration of life or change. Depending on the religion of the person wearing the tattoo, it can mean many different things. For Christians, the skull can stand for what remains when we pass. In Kabbalah, it can mean a celebration and a rebirth of sorts. With candy skulls, the meaning is always a positive one in that it is a celebration of the experiences had and your life in summation.
We’ve seen also seen this tattoo in the form of a girl with her face painted like the candy skull. The woman can be dressed in gypsy garb with intricate designs on her scarf and jewelry. The idea that many gather from these tattoos is the contrast between good and evil. The living and the dead and the close relationship between the two.
These tattoos can also be inked in different ways. Realistic candy skull tattoos are a popular choice among people who wear this tattoo. The life in the eyes or the wear and tear of the skull can really bring the tattoo to life and truly give one the feeling this skull once, or still does, have life.
We also see this tattoo done in new school tendencies where the skulls or girls with candy skull paint on their face represent something more cartoonish. This style coincides with the meaning of the candy skull because it gives it a fun and less threatening feeling. Keep in mind that with the candy skull, people have them or tattoo them as a sign of a celebration of life. This is a happy moment so why not have some fun with the tattoo.
Then in other cases, the tattoo artist can get very creative and make the skull out of flowers or candy. Anything that symbolizes the Day of the Dead can be used as a piece of the puzzle that creates this image.
One more way we’ve seen the candy skull portrayed is through geometric shapes. These end up being beautiful tattoos because it gives the skull a very light and artsy feel. Your artist should be able to tell you what they are comfortable tattooing so if you have a certain design in mind, make sure you let your artist know before you get started.
We hope that you learned something about the candy skull (sugar skull) and have a better idea of the origins of this beautiful design. We love the thinking behind the Day of the Dead. To honor our loved ones in the afterlife as to never forget about them.
Take a look at the pictures below to help you get an idea of the candy skull tattoo you’d like to have tattooed on your body. We recommend taking your time in the research process because this tattoo will stay on you forever. If you’re still having trouble deciding on a shop or artist and want a little help, reach out to us. We offer recommendations to shops and artists based on what you’re looking for.