Red Sugar Skull

Red sugar skull my great grandma made
Red sugar skull my great grandma made

To most people sugar skulls are associated with Dia De Muertos altars to honor the dead. But for my family especially my grandma it represents much more. My grandmother, Irma Rangel Marquez was born on December 5th 1939 in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. My great grandparents were facing debt due to the railroad company where my great grandfather worked struggled financially. My great grandparents could not afford to get my grandmother the muneca she wanted for her 5th birthday, so her mom made her a ceramic red sugar skull. My great grandfather applied for the Bracero (Labor) Program to work in the California fields and was accepted. My grandma was persistent on carrying her sugar skull with her during the journey. During, the nighttime she would get scared and hugged her sugar skull tightly. She believed it would protect and keep her safe. Once she arrived in the U.S she continued to sleep with it under her pillow and hid the skull in her backpack when she went to school. To her the sugar skull was a symbol of hope in the new world, it gave her comfort when she was in need. When my grandma got married she had the sugar skull tucked in the front of her wedding dress and it was in the room when she gave birth to her three daughters. Today, the sugar skull is in a glass case on the mantle of her house and it serves as a reminder of my grandma and the legacy she left behind for us. It brings my family hope, strength, and security.

Year: 1944

– Danielle Candelas

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant