Sugar skulls were used in Mexico to commemorate a departed loved one. A skull would be made from sugar and candy and the deceased person’s name would be written on the skull. The skulls are decorated with bright colors and intricate designs to celebrate the return of that person’s spirit to the world. The decorations used on sugar skulls are also used in sugar skull tattoo designs, although a person can choose which patterns they would like to adorn the skull tattoo with.
The designs on sugar skulls are a symbolic celebration of the life of a deceased person and the return of their spirit to the world of the living. The confectionery designs on sugar skulls are also created to delight the returning spirit. Often the skull will have a smiling face painted onto it, following the artistic traditions of South American folk art. The eye sockets of sugar skulls sometimes contain jewels or candy flowers.