Mexican Day of the Dead and Sugar Skull Tattoos for Girls

Updated on March 19, 2018
Source

Day of the Dead Tattoos: History, Meaning, and Personalization

Recently, Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) tattoos have become a coveted design for both guys and girls. If you search the Internet, you'll find that many of these designs are geared towards guys, so my goal is to introduce some for girls and maybe educate you a little bit on the history along the way.

In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate and honor ancestors and is celebrated on November 1st or 2nd in alignment with the Roman Catholic All Saints' Day. The origins can be traced back to the time of the Aztecs and corresponds with other ancestral celebrations around the world (including the Celtic Samhain holiday).

So what image comes to mind when you think of a Mexican tattoo? Sugar skulls, of course. The sugar skull (or calavera) is one of the main symbols or images seen during the Day of the Dead festivities and represents ancestors. In Mexico, you'll see see skulls made out of molded sugar with the name of a departed loved one written on the forehead on the gravestones as an invitation for that soul to return on the Day of the Dead.

There are other images and well-known symbols that would make awesome Day of the Dead tattoos for girls, including humorous skeletons, vibrant butterflies, bright flowers, and various other Mexican or Catholic motifs.

If you're trying to individualize your design, add a bit of your own flair. Check out the pictures below to see how the owners' personalities shine through. Some are of pretty women's faces made to look like sugar skulls and adorned with bright flowers in their hair or hands. You might opt for a sugar skull enveloped in butterfly wings or set inside a bright flower. Maybe you want your design to honor a deceased loved one. If so, incorporate their name or incorporate other details or objects you associate with them, things they loved in life. The options are endless.

Old-school Day of the Dead gypsy sketch.
Old-school Day of the Dead gypsy sketch. | Source
Realistic-styled portrait with Mexican elements.
Realistic-styled portrait with Mexican elements. | Source
Neo-traditional living sugar skull doll.
Neo-traditional living sugar skull doll. | Source
Beautiful sugar skull sketch by a woman for women.
Beautiful sugar skull sketch by a woman for women. | Source

Additional, Unique Design Elements

While sugar skulls are a super popular tattoo in modern times, you can still make your sugar skull tattoo your own. As mentioned previously, personalize it by adding different elements to the tattoo that the next person might not have.

Try adding one or more of the following elements:

  • a quote or phrase you are inspired by
  • flowers other than roses (roses are the most popular), instead try sunflowers, daisies, lillies, hibiscus, etc.
  • animals like owls, butterflies, bees, cats, etc.
  • turn the sugar skull into a portrait of a favorite celebrity or loved one or yourself
  • add the sugar skull tattoo to an already existing or in-progress sleeve or full back piece
  • pick a different style of sugar skull tattoo such as the new school styles like watercolor or polka trash (instead of the traditional tattoo styles)

New school sugar skull.
New school sugar skull.
Tattoo inspired by Frida Kahlo.
Tattoo inspired by Frida Kahlo.
Tattoo to honor Maria.
Tattoo to honor Maria.
Old school calavera with roses, daggers, and spider webs.
Old school calavera with roses, daggers, and spider webs.

Participate in a poll:

Which day of the dead tattoo would you get?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Nicole Canfield

    Comments

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    • Carole Anzolletti profile image

      Carole Anzolletti 

      6 years ago from The Phantom Queen's Labyrinth

      Hi Kitty I had you linked to me, but they pulled it for prepublished content...so I ripped everything I thought would cause that again, and now its back up! My Skin of the Flesh/Day of the Dead hub with art etc. is on now :)

    • funmontrealgirl profile image

      funmontrealgirl 

      6 years ago from Montreal

      These are super classy and super cool. The top mexican day of the dead tat is my favorite of the group.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicole Canfield 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      And you!

    • Carole Anzolletti profile image

      Carole Anzolletti 

      6 years ago from The Phantom Queen's Labyrinth

      It will be soon and of course I will! Thank you so much, you are wonderful lady!

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicole Canfield 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      Carole - Awesome! Let me know when you publish that hub so that I can take a peek! :)

    • Carole Anzolletti profile image

      Carole Anzolletti 

      6 years ago from The Phantom Queen's Labyrinth

      So wonderful! I will be sure to create a hub in honor of this day and add a link to your awesome hub:)

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicole Canfield 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      Carole - I must've read your mind! So glad you liked it. Thanks for voting up.

      AP - That's me in the picture and I was at a Tampa Bay Bucs game. The second to last game when they beat the Falcons! :)

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Another great subject Kitty. These tats are fascinating and a bit eerie at first. It's good you've got some of the history on them as otherwise one could get the wrong impression. They're beautifully done...what a way to tempt the soul back and honor the deceased. Hey Kitty, like the avatar, what team are you pulling for there?

    • Carole Anzolletti profile image

      Carole Anzolletti 

      6 years ago from The Phantom Queen's Labyrinth

      AWESOME how did you know I was working on Day of the Dead Art today?! LMAO, LOVE THIS HUB! VOTING YOU UP...and now I know what I want for my 7 year quit smoking anniversary tattoo (I quit smoking cigarettes on November 1st, the Day of the Dead)...the fourth one down is absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!

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