Día de los Muertos Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebrations in Mexico honor those who have passed and serve as a memento mori to remind us of our own mortality. Greeting the Grim Reaper with a grin and an elbow to the bony ribs, art celebrating Day of the Dead depict skeletons – both human and animal – engaging in everyday activities, affirming there is indeed life after death.

Day of the Dead 2014 Calendar

Day of the Dead – Sugar Skull Calendar. Cover art by John Warner.


One of the most fascinating forms of this art is the sugar skull. Brought to Mexico in the seventeenth century by Italian missionaries, sugar art was originally used year round as altar offerings and decorations. Now associated most with Day of the Dead, artists create these symbols in various mediums. The sugar skull motif can be found on clothing and in tattoos, jewelry and murals.

Darling's Sweet Ride © Brandon Maldonado

Darling’s Sweet Ride by Brandon Maldonado


Whether in paint or frosting, the elaborate designs of sugar skull art are symbolic of life in death. Flowers bloom around empty eye sockets, and sunbeams radiate from skeletal brows. The sugar skull’s juxtaposition of sweetness and death is at the heart of Día de los Muertos – we laugh and we grieve, and we laugh again.

Killer Tune © Enkle Dika

Killer Tune art by Enkle Dika

Day of the Dead Skull © Ernesto Yerena

Day of the Dead Skull by Ernesto Yerena


Sugar Skull © Lydia Hess

Sugar Skull art by Lydia Hess


Dead Head © wotto / Craig Watkins

Dead Head art by Wotto / Craig Watkins


Excerpt from Day of the Dead 2014 Wall Calendar


also available at Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Day-Dead-2014-Wall-Calendar/dp/1602377626/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382722992&sr=8-1&keywords=day+of+the+dead+calendar

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