What is the Day of the Dead?
The Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos, is a celebration of life while remembering and honoring those who passed away before us. It is BIG FIESTA in which the living pays tribute to the dead in a festive, artistic, and creative way. Día de los Muertos, as it is celebrated today, is a blend between rites and traditions from ancient civilizations that live in the American continent for about 3,000 years and European traditions brought to the Americas 500 years ago. This is an example of how mixing cultures and traditions can make something better, something inclusive.
What are sugar skulls?
Sugar skulls, or calaveritas de azúcar. They are an important symbol for Day of the Dead. They are placed on ofrendas, or gravestones, to honor the return of the spirits of the deceased. This year, over 300 sugar skulls were made in preparation of our Day of the Dead Celebration. The sugars skulls are decorated with bright colors to symbolize life and hope for a better life to both the dead and the living.
Thanks to Arts Council of Princeton trustee and Day of the Dead event coordinator, Veronica Olivares-Weber, here is the (not-so-secret) recipe for sugar skulls:
- In a large bowl, mix together 4 cups of sugar, 4 teaspoons of meringue powder and mix very well
- Add 4 teaspoons of water and mix well
- Check the mixture by squeezing with your fingers. If the sugar remains in the mixture, then is ready to put in the molds!
- Similar to sand, pack sugar firmly into the molds and press with previously cut small cardboard. Scrap the back of the mold flat, remove the mixture out of the mold and place it down to dry.
- Let it dry for at least 24hrs at least or until the sugar skulls hard.