With Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), one of Mexico’s most signification celebrations, right around the corner, you will see sugar skulls all over Puerto Vallarta.  But what is the meaning behind these sweet confections and what part do they play in the tradition of Dia de los Muertos?

In Mexico, the passing of loved ones is honored during Dia de Muertos, a tradition which has some rooting in the Catholic All Souls’ Day as well as Aztec and other indigenous beliefs.  The Mexican belief is that the souls of loved ones are always close at hand, keeping an eye on those they have left in the living realm.

To bring the spirits closer, Mexicans will decorate graves and alters with an abundance of marigolds, the bright flowers which are thought to be inviting to the dead, and with sugar skulls. The sugar skulls are effigies to the dead, made by hand and carefully decorated, sometimes with the name of the deceased written on the forehead.  They may be adored with crosses, mandalas, marigolds or other patterns and are generally brightly colored with foil, beads, rhinestones or even feathers.  Sugar skulls are about celebrating the life of a loved one and making them is considered a joyful activity.

Be sure to visit the Plaza de Armas in downtown Puerto Vallarta on November 2 to visit some of the many alters that will be on display, decorated with food, drink, flowers, photos and the famous sugar skulls of Mexico.

Read here more about living in Mexico and the events taking place around Puerto Vallarta.