What are Sugar Skulls?
Sugar skulls are exactly that- skull-shaped sugar. Traditional Sugar Skulls are made from a granulated white sugar mixture that is pressed into special skull molds. The sugar mixture is allowed to dry and then the sugar skull is decorated with icing, colored foil and more. While the ingredients of Sugar Skulls are edible (with the exception of the non-edible decorations you may add) the skulls are generally used for decorative purposes. However some small sugar skulls that are made with basic icing are intended to be consumed.
Where were the first Sugar Skulls made?
Dia de los Muertos was an Aztec ritual that celebrated the lives of those who have deceased. The Spaniards who came to Mexico tried to eliminate this seemingly offensive month-long holiday . Dia de los Muertos was eventually merged with the Catholic All-Saints day and All-Souls day on November 1st and 2nd in an effort to make the holiday more Christian.
According to Angela Villalba from the Reign Trading Co. sugar art dates back to the 17th century when Italian missionaries visited the New World. Mexicans during that time period had very little money and learned from the Catholic friars how to make decorations out of an ingredient they had plenty of- sugar. Molds were made of clay and the sugar decorations were used to adorn the church as well as ofrendas and gravestones. For theDia de los Muertos celebrations the sugar was pressed into Sugar Skulls and each sugar skull represented an individual and their name was often inscribed on the forehead of the skull.