Thursday, October 22, 2009

...and speaking of skulls... adorning husband scored me this new purse that I absolutely ADORE!! It hasn't left my side since I got it! Most of you know I love skulls, and Halloween has always been the easiest time to find great deals on all things skullish (though with the recent trend, it has gotten pretty easy year round!) He got this purse at a local store here in town for less than the price on my fav website that I'd been oogling for awhile :) You gotta love a website that sells skulls & Hello Kitty together ~ it was made for me! :) It's the perfect companion to my sugar skull coin purse my friend brought me back from Kansas City this past summer! It's like a little family reunion! Hee hee!

The sugar skulls have become more prevalent in our society lately, and I'm not sure if it is just the "new" skull trend, or maybe it has something to do with more Mexican culture, but either way, it's here, and I'm happy :)
Have you ever wondered the history of the sugar skulls? (Imagine that! ANOTHER history lesson!)
Sugar art was brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. The first Church mention of sugar art was from Palermo at Easter time when little sugar lambs and angels were made to adorn the side altars in the Catholic Church.
Mexico, abundant in sugar production and too poor to buy fancy imported European church decorations, learned quickly from the friars how to make sugar art for their religious festivals. Clay molded sugar figures of angels, sheep and sugar skulls go back to the Colonial Period 18th century. Sugar skulls represented a departed soul, had the name written on the forehead and was placed on the home ofrenda or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit. Sugar skull art reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colorful icing and sparkly tin and glittery adornments. Sugar skulls are labor intensive and made in very small batches in the homes of sugar skull makers. These wonderful artisans are disappearing as fabricated and imported candy skulls take their place.
There is nothing as beautiful as a big, fancy, unusual sugar skull!
Although it is a holiday from far away in southern Mexico, it's a holiday one can personalize and integrate into their own religious and cultural beliefs. It is more of a cultural holiday than a religious one. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the memories of our loved ones who are now gone... through art, cooking, music, building ofrendas, doing activities with our children, we can recount family stories, fun times and lessons learned... not how the person died, but how they lived. An ofrenda is a little bit like a shrine that people make in their homes for the Day of the Dead. There's a lot of things included in the shrine, though I'll have to give you another history lesson to actually remember what exactly is there. I know there is a lot of food & flowers! Here is a photo of a lday building her ofrenda in Mexico:

The sugar skulls are mostly made for the "angelitos", or dead children, who I believe come back 24 hours before the souls of the adults do.

In Mexico, they sell all kinds of wonderful things for the angelitos. Here is a photo of some sugar coffins with tiny skeletons inside!
So cute!
I think I had better start trying to track down my own little sugar skull :)

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