Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar with traditional decorations: sugar skull, orange cempasùchitl flowers, papel picado (cut tissue paper), fruit and candles.
The Heartwarming Reason Sugar Skulls Have Names Written On Them
By Jennifer Amos
Sugar skulls are traditionally made during Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is an important holiday in Mexico. It's commonly believed that during Día de Los Muertos the veil between our world and the spirit world becomes thin enough for spirits to pass through, giving families a chance to reunite with lost loved ones.
During the holiday, families honor the lives of loved ones that have passed on and decorate their altars and gravestones with offerings such as sugar skulls, their favorite foods, candles, marigolds, fruit, and stacks of tortillas. While most sugar skulls are decorated with the names of lost loved ones, sometimes they may also hold the names of living members who wish to save their spot in the underworld.
Although sugar skulls are edible, most people don't eat them because of their symbolic meaning; in fact, large sugar skulls symbolize adult loved ones that have passed, and smaller skulls are for children. Sugar skulls are so iconic that some people also paint their faces to resemble them, and jewelry, candy, and tattoos can be seen with sugar skull designs.