All the skulls decorated All were eligible to be exhibited in the 4th Annual Dia de los Muertos and Monster Factory Exhibit on October 17th. Carolina explained that sugar Skulls are decorated in a relatives memory. The relatives name is often written on the back of the skull. It is believed that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.
In most villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of wild marigolds mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. The living feast on the alter at the end of the evening.
Sugar art was brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. The first Church mention of sugar art was from Palermo at Easter time when little sugar lambs and angels were made to adorn the side altars in the Catholic Church.