Sugar Skull Symbolism

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To many people skulls represent death and negativity however, for Mexicans that celebrate Day of the Dead sugar skulls represent death in a positive manner. In Mexico it is believed that death is not the final stage in life but rather a step forward onto a higher level of consciousness. This is similar to the beliefs of the Aztecs. The Aztec skulls were a positive symbol, not only of death but also of rebirth. The symbolism of sugar skulls is rooted in the decoration around the eyes. Life is symbolized by flowers, while death is symbolized by cob webs. Burning candles are also set inside the eyes as a sign of remembrance. Mexican-American history is hard to track back. As a result, it is unclear as to when or how sugar skulls in Western culture. It is believed that the two cultures first started merging after the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century (tattoo.about.com). “After the immigration of around 200,000 Spaniards, sugar plantations became one of South America's largest economic resources” tattoo.about.com). Eventually, “the making of sugar skulls was introduced to the indigenous people who still remained, not having fallen victim to disease or genocidal slaughter brought on by the Spanish settlers and their armies”(sugarskullcreations.com/history/). Now in modern day, the sugar skulls are used to celebrate and represent the celebration of life and death as part of the modern-day festivities. The name “sugar …show more content…

The importance behind sugar skulls needs to be viewed through an equity lens. Sugar skulls are being appropriated by Western culture resulting in an insult to the Mexican Day of the Dead and the history behind it. Using the tradition of sugar skulls for fashion without knowing the history, and being naïve to the significance sugar skulls have during Day of the Dead should not happen as this issue of cultural appropriation needs to be seen through an equitable

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