Los Dias de los Muertos

Making Clay Sugar Skulls

Project Objectives:


  • Learn about the Mexican cultural celebration of Los Dias de los Muertos (aka The Days of the Dead)
  • Use this celebration as inspiration for a clay sugar skull
  • Understand the clay process
  • Successfully create and design a clay sugar skull

CGI Animated Shorts: "Dia De Los Muertos" - by Whoo Kazoo
After watching that video...what do you think the celebration of Los Dias de los Metros is about?

A Little Information:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

The holiday is sometimes called Días de los Metros. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually it was associated with October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christian traditions of, All Saints' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves. There are parades and gatherings at the cemeteries where people pray for their deceased loved ones and remember them through story and music.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival.

The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is similar to other culture's observances of a time to honor the dead.

Can You Think of American Holidays that Honor The Dead?

A CALAVERA [plural:calaveras] (Spanish -pronounced: [kalaˈβeɾa] for "skull") is a representation of a human skull. The term is most often applied to decorative or edible skulls made from either sugar or clay which are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (Día de Metros)

Calavera can also refer to any artistic representations of skulls, such as the lithographs of José Guadalupe Posada. The most widely known calaveras are created with cane sugar and are decorated with items such as colored foil, icing, beads, and feathers.

*from Wikipedia


We will be drawing a sugar skull and thinking about how the designs might work on our clay skull. This drawing will eventually be painted and completed while we wait for our clay skulls to go through the firing process.

Tomorrow we will make our clay skull....

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