Sugar Skull has become a general term used to reference any skull decorated with filigree or anyone with a decorated skull painted on their face. La Calavera Catrina, which can be translated as “the elegant skull” when catrina is the feminine form of the word catrín, is another popular phrase used by some. This one originates from Jose Posada‘s creation of the female skeleton “Dandy” image that he named La Calavera Catrina. Some have appropriated the terms calavera and catrina independently and use them interchangeably with sugar skull. Etymology can be fun, but it can also be confusing when the same terms are used in such wide reference to a variety of objects; however, Dead Deco is here to help clear up some of this confusion.
You can see that this term does literally refer to a skull confection made and sold around Day of the Dead each year. Some are for eating and some are not. Some look incredibly detailed and some do not. The role of the sugar skull in association with Dia de los Muertos was born from necessity.
In Mexico, sugar is one of the largest crops. The surplus and low cost of sugar in Mexico is what lead to the incorporation of sugar-based sculptures in Dia de los Muertos.
If you would like to try your hand at making an authentic sugar skull, here is a kit you can buy to help you get started:Mexican Dia de los Muertos Sugar Skull Party Pack Special