They are known by many names – Day of the Dead Girls, Sugar Skull Women, La Catrina. Or even sometimes by the Layman “those creepy girls with flowers on their eyes”.
However you know them, they are nonetheless popular across the world for their macabre beauty and obscure symbolism. What is lovely about them is not only that they’re all gorgeous. But they are also equally suitable for men and women. Of course, no one would ever judge anyone for getting a beautiful image tattooed. The true reason for the unisex appeal, however, comes from the meaning behind the ink.
A Religious Homage
The popular image of a woman wearing skull-like make up – also called – comes from Mexican tradition and more specifically, as the name points out, from the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. It’s a full day of remembrance and celebration that starts where All Hallow’s Eve ends, at midnight on October 31st, and ends on November 2. It’s a day when people build altars, where they leave little mementos and gifts for the people who’ve passed away. It is believed that the tradition comes from the ancient rituals of the Aztec. Nowadays, it is recognised the world over, and the depiction of the traditional make up has become one of the most popular styles in tattooing.
Symbols and Meanings
Day of the Dead Girls tattoos don’t comprise only of faces. There are certain elements that must make an appearance, such as sugar skulls, marigolds, altars, and/or graves. You may have already recognised the marigolds as the dark flowers over the girl’s eyes. It’s the same element that is absolutely crucial for a sugar skull.
The grave may be a tombstone incorporated in the image, or it could be lips sewn shut or replaced by a skull’s grin. Either version signifies the person being dead.
Sometimes, only half of the face has the tell-tale elements of death, whereas the other half is kept clean and beautiful. This has to do with the traditional veil worn by some women during the celebrations. The symbolism of this shroud is the gossamer thin veil that on this day separates the world of the living from that of the dead. Hence the mixed image of a woman both dead and alive.
Elements and Style for a Day of the Dead Girls Tattoo
There are obligatory elements that need to be included – decorating the eyes, nose, and lips to give it a skull look. There are also spider webs, key holes, rosaries, etc. that are sometimes present.
For all of this to work well, there are also technical aspects that need to be executed well. Correct proportions, good line work and shading all come together for a stunning image whose owner can be proud of.