Make no mistake about it, when you see the sugar skull tattoo, you will certainly recognize it. This particular tattoo design is unlike all the doom and gloom skull tattoos that you see, in fact, it has a lighter and alluring quality that has given it a huge boost in popularity in recent years.
The most obvious distinction of the sugar skull tattoo is the size, these colorful and bright designs can be quite large due to all the intricate details and colors within. One large sugar skull represents the passing of an adult in your life, while smaller skulls symbolize the passing of children.
The Connection to Mexican Culture
Although not a very common tattoo design, the sugar skull tattoo does have deep roots in the Mexican culture that is quite intense. The sugar skull is the predominant symbol of the “Day of the Dead”, or Dia de Los Muertos.
This is more of a happy celebration of those who have passed on. In Mexican culture, ancestors that have passed are memorialized in clay molded skulls that are colorfully painted and decorated.
On the forehead of the sugar skull is painted the name of the departed, then these skulls are placed at the graves to encourage the departed to come celebrate on Dia de Los Muertos. Today people get these tattoos inked with the names of loved ones on the head of the skull.
Unique Meanings of the Sugar Skull
In order to honor the dead or commemorate the passing of a loved one, the sugar skull tattoo must be large in size to show off all the unique colors and designs. To honor their passing, the name must be on the head of the skull, while the rest of the skull is completely colored in with vibrant ink colors.
There can be no other writing except for the forehead of the skull. This tattoo design is symbolic of death, celebration, remembrance, spirituality, and eventual return. The sugar skull does not represent a fear of death, more of a celebration or moving to the next life.
This optimistic view of death is key in the symbolism of the sugar skull, often representing a connection to the dead that is joyful, cheerful, and hopeful.
The Sugar Skull Flowers
Many people who get inked with a sugar skull tattoo often place a marigold in the design. This traditional flower is paired with the sugar skull because in Mexican culture it honors the dead. The vibrant yellow and orange of the marigold help to draw more focus to the vibrant colors of the skull.
Those who choose to combine the sugar skull and flowers have a love for life, a celebration of their ancestors, and a joy in knowing they will meet again. These are not morbid or frightening designs, it symbolizes that the dead have found peace and these souls have moved on to a higher existence without any anxiety, pain, or suffering they had in this world. The sugar skull is a celebration of their life on Earth.
The sugar skull tattoo can be placed anywhere on the body and can be personalized to represent the person who has passed in your life. If they loved roses, substitute for the marigolds. Many body ink lovers get the sugar skulls not to commemorate the passing of anyone, but to celebrate life, to embrace our time on this planet, to showcase a passion for living, and to be reminded of a connection to the afterlife in a positive way.
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