Once again it is Tuesday (yes, it’s Wednesday, I forgot to post this yesterday) and this week my post is about sugar skull tattoos from the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday.
This holiday was originally an ancient ritualistic festival celebrated by the Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations in central and southern Mexico. Today, the holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico, certain parts of the United States and Central America, and around the world in other cultures.
The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. Dia de los Muertos was eventually merged with the Catholic All Saints’ day and All Souls’ day on November 1st and 2nd in an effort to make the holiday more Christian, once the Spanish Conquistadors unsuccessfully tried to eradicate it from the indigenous culture. The Spaniards considered the ritual sacrilegious and perceived the indigenous people as barbaric and pagan.
The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth, as well as to honor the dead.
The indigenous people viewed death as the continuation of life, rather than the end of life, and they believed that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that were prepared for them.