Tattoos come in various kinds of forms and shapes. Every styles and design used tries to show a message and in a way tells something about the individual of the said skin art.
Over the years, one of the most enduring designs of tattoo is the skull. As a reflection of the thin line between life and death, a skull tattoo can bear a lot of meaning. It is such meanings that made the skull a lasting tattoo design.
What Exactly Is A Sugar Skull Tattoo?
Make no mistake about it, you will certainly recognize a sugar skull tattoo when you see one. Sugar skull tattoo designs are unlike all gloom and doom skull tattoos that you see in other. It has a lighter and alluring quality which provided a great boost in popularity over the recent years.
The phrase “sugar skull” is from the old tradition of preparing candies that have the shape of skulls. While the actual skull is often plain white in color, sugar skulls have added vibrancy and have a lively look with the help from decorative elements such as leaves, candles, and flowers in bright colors like orange, green, blue and yellow.
Basically, what a sugar skull tattoo reflects is that the dead are not really dead. It means that they are happy in the afterlife. Full-sized sugar skulls are offered to adult spirits, while the miniature ones are for the little children spirits.
The Connection of Sugar Skull Tattoo to Mexican Culture
The origins of the celebrations in honor of the deceased are way back to almost 2,500 – 3,000 years. These artistic skulls were traditionally known as “Calavera”, meaning “skull” in the Spanish language.
Although it is a very common tattoo design, sugar skull tattoos have deep roots in the Mexican culture. The traditional practice of making sugar skulls came from the Mexicans and it has become a predominant symbol for the celebration of the “Dia de Los Muertos” or in English means “Day of the Dead”. These sugar skulls are made to honor the spirits of the deads who are believed to visit their families during these days.
Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated in conjunction with All Saints Day and All Souls Day during November 1 and 2 every year. It is believed that the heavens will open its gate at midnight on October 31, every year and the souls of Angelitas or little children are allowed to reunite with their family for the whole day. The next day is the adult souls’ turn to visit their family.
However, unlike the traditional celebration for the deceased, the Mexican version is quite colorful and positive. Rather than dwelling on the death of family members, they choose to dwell on the life that the deceased person has lived. It celebrates, honor and remembers those who have entered the afterlife and results in a party-like atmosphere on this very day.
Meaning and Symbolism of Sugar Skull Tattoos
Ever since skull tattoos became a rage among tattoo lovers, particularly those who are intrigued by the whole concept of death, life and afterlife, sugar skull tattoos design has boomed to be a popular choice.
The one unique thing about sugar skull tattoos is the fact that they are not negative, scary or dull at all. Instead, they have artistic blends of flowers, colors and a funny dash of skull-y smiles and other elements that makes the designs look really lively and vivacious.
The meaning of a sugar skull tattoos is dependent on the individual who is wearing the tattoo. Some individuals choose a particular sugar skull design since they would like to remember or commemorate a deceased loved one. Others simply like the designs and image of a decorated and colorful skull. And for most people, the combination of beauty and death creates a contrasting symbolism that is both alluring and fascinating.
Here are traditional meanings and symbolism for a sugar skull tattoo:
⦁ Honoring The Dead
There are many sugar skulls tattoos that are inked solely for honoring an individual you valued the most and someone who is no more a part of this living world. A sugar skull tattoo with the name of the deceased inked alongside is a great way to honor the dead. The hat makes it more beautiful is that most sugar skull tattoos have a smiling face which means that you are honoring and remembering them with a smile on your face.
⦁ Connection Between Life And Death
The beautiful sugar skull tattoos with a beautiful portrait –like images of a person with skull-ish and roses designs on the face is a representation of our inner struggle between ugliness (decay) and beauty (life). It represents that after a beautiful life comes the ugly truth of death. This sugar skull tattoo is suitable for those who are struggling to accept the truth.
⦁ The Afterlife
Sugar skull tattoos are filled with various elements in order to beautify the skull design. Marigold represents the flower for the dead and a lot of decoration is around the skull’s eyes with such flowers. Cobweb is a contrasting element that represents death. And in most sugar skull tattoos, burning candles are added inside the circle of the eye which represents remembrance for the dead.
⦁ Death is Spiritual
For most people, death is a scary reality. For others, it is a spiritual truth of an inevitable journey to the afterlife. For people who believe that death is a spiritual journey, they choose to have a sugar skull tattoo on their body, signifying that they are not afraid of the afterlife without any mournful or spooky feeling.
⦁ Return Of The Ones Who Are Gone
Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated so that the spirits and souls who have left this world can return to their families once a year and pay them a visit. Having a sugar skull tattoo means that you believed in the returning of the souls and spirits of the deceased to come and reunite with you.
Top 12 Sugar Skull Tattoos You Will Love
Sugar skull tattoos are very popular tattoo designs for both man and women. Setting their deep spiritual meanings aside, they can decorate your skin in a beautiful and lively manner. Here are some sugar skull tattoos that you will definitely love:
⦁ Traditional Skull Design
A great sketch of a traditional skull with a beautiful rose and antique jewelry items.
⦁ Black Ink Sugar Skull
A black-inked sugar skull is more common for men. This one is a great example of how nice a good dark shading can be. Sometimes, it’s all you need.
⦁ Diamond Eyes
A sugar skull tattoo with diamond eyes is something common. Geometric shapes like this one really work well with a skull pattern.
⦁ Sugar Skull Vine
While others might think that this tattoo is a bit creepy, surely you cannot deny that is really well done and that the colors make it really alive that it might jump right out of you.
⦁ Chest Sugar Skull Piece
Since sugar skulls often represent a family member or a friend you might have lost, it is very common for most people to get them tattooed on their chest which is close to the heart.
⦁ Sugar Skulls and Roses
In case you are out of ideas yet really want a colorful skull tattoo, then why not try to add colorful and beautiful roses such as this one.
⦁ Owl Sugar Skull
This sugar skull tattoo is absolutely gorgeous. A kind of sugar skull design with the incorporation of animal you could stare at for many hours and never gets tired.
⦁ Dual Sugar Skull
Most people want to have 2 sugar skull tattoos in order for them to be more symmetrical.
⦁ Spider Web Sugar Skull
If you want more intricate details, then this sugar skull tattoo is what you want.
⦁ Modern Sugar Skull
This is a more modern sugar skull design with a political twist.
⦁ Traditional Mexican Sugar Skull
This is a good example of a traditional Mexican sugar skull. Notice the diamonds, vines, cross, spider web, upside down heart shape on the nose area and the flowers on the eyes. These are all common elements used in designing Mexican sugar skulls.
⦁ Bride and Groom Sugar Skulls
These sugar skull tattoos have beautifully captured a very symbolic meaning to couples who are preparing a married life.
Like most other tattoo themes, sugar skull tattoos have deep spiritual meanings. However, for other people, it is also a favorite choice due to their artistic blends of elements and colors which forms an intriguing tattoo design. Most body ink lovers choose to have a sugar skull tattoo not to remember or honor the passing of anyone, but to embrace our time on this world and celebrate life, showcase our passion for living and to be always reminded about the afterlife in a positive and a not scary way.