My weekend was filled with treats and a few little tricks, too. Today's the last day to leave a comment here for a chance to win a custom designed sugar skull like the ones here. Michele at Sugar Skull Gallery in San Francisco painstakingly creates each one by hand with love. They're a part of a great traditional Mexican festival, El Dia De Los Muertos, Nov 1st and 2nd, when families celebrate the lives of their dearest friends and relatives who've passed on. It's a beautiful and rich event that offers a refreshing take on all things that were formerly spooky and scary.
Visit the Sugar Skull Gallery for original and colorful gifts like this an the one at the end of this post
Sugar skulls are made with meringue powder and other ingredients. They can be covered with icing, sequins, buttons, foil, or whatever you have to work with! They're meant to be tiny works of art that cover altars and graves. There's even a fan page for sugar skulls on Facebook!
What did you do to celebrate over the weekend? Costume party? Playing tricks on people? Pumpkin carving? Face painting? Eating colorful candy?
If you'd like the chance to win one of 3 new sugar skulls that Michele and I are collaborating on. leave a comment as your entry to win by 12am EST, Wednesday, November 4, 2009. Three winners will be selected randomly and announced next week.
A little more about El Dia De Los Muertos
Across the world, there are several festivals throughout the year that celebrate what would seem macabre at any other time of year. The Obon Festival in Japan, the Ghost Festival in China, El Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, and All Saint's Day celebrate spirits and ancestors across the globe. The beauty of all these festivals is the fact that they are about honoring those who have passed on in glorious, colorful ways.
I was really curious about El Dia De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. It's just after Halloween running from November 1-2. Rooted in pre-colonial Mexican heritage, it's a festival in joyous remembrance of loved ones who have moved to to the next phase in their life's journey. The Day of the Dead has become an important cultural and spiritual tradition throughout many countries with strong Mexican communities and involves elaborate altar designs, ornate cemetery decor, specially prepared foods like pan de los muertos (bread of the dead), and individually crafted sugar skulls.
Color is a big part of El Dia De Los Muertos, too. According to The Official Mexican and Mexican-American Fine Arts Museum of Texas, color adds symbolism to the celebratory altars or ofrendas.
White-- Purity and hope
Purple-- Pain, mourning and suffering
Red-- The blood of life
Orange-- The Sun
Yellow-- The petals of Marigolds called "cempazuchitle" that symbolize death are used to make a trail for spirits to see their path to the altars
Here are some traditional and contemporary expressions of El Dia De La Muertas that boast color and design in a rich way
The top altar was found by two travelers in Mexico. Students at SCAD created the one below as part of a project. Altars can pop up anywhere-- indoors or outdoors and usually boast a photo of the deceased, some favorite foods and symbolic offerings like water and salt. No matter the details, they're always full of color!
You can buy this "Moo Muerte" at CarmelaJay's Etsy Shop. A more modern take on an altar, this piece still keeps the cultural and colorful nature of the celebration alive (pun intended).
Decorated cemeteries remind us that The Day of the Dead is bright and uplifting. Visit this gallery on Flickr for Rainy City's complete album of amazing shots.
Cultural symbolism can be very influential in life and a great source of inspiration for design and decor, too.
Tell me how you are using culture, tradition, and color for your festivities this weekend for a chance to win a sugar skull!
So now I have plans for the weekend-- Between tricks and treats, Michele of the Sugar Skull Gallery in San Francisco and I are working to create 3 colorfully custom designed sugar skulls for you to win!
Leave a comment as your entry to win by 12am EST, Wednesday, November 4, 2009. Three winners will be selected randomly and announced next week.