I have been researching the meaning of the sugar skull: calaveras de azúcar. There are many different variations. I would like to throw my findings in the pot
The sugar skull
Sugar skulls are made from sugar (as the name suggests) They are used to decorate alters during the day of the innocents and the day of the dead (1 and 2 November). The days are used as an opportunity to celebrate the lives of friends and family members. It's a sad time in your life represented in a happy way.
The sugar is the sweetness of life and the skull is the sadness of death. They usually have a name written on the forehead the honour a departed soul. The are decorated in a bright folk art fashion with big smiles and lots of sparkly things. Flowers symbolize life while cob webs symbolize death. Burning candles in eyes are a sign of remembrance.
In tattoos they are often combined with Catrina. Catrina is the skeleton of an upper class woman usually based on La Calavera Catrina.