You are here

mumok APPetizer – Sugar skull

mumok insider

Not only for times when you cannot experience DEFROSTING THE ICEBOX Guesting at mumok: The Hidden Treasures of the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Weltmuseum Wien live: a small sample from our mumok APP.

The mumok's multimedia guide can be accessed free of charge via iOS and Android, so you can also take a tour of the exhibitions from home. Have fun!

Free download available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.


On Halloween, something very special happens in Mexico. On the Dia de los Muertos, the Christian All Saints’ Day, the dead are commemorated in a colorful and bright festival. In the night before November 1, the dead even come back to visit the living. At vigils at cemeteries, people await the dead, and altars in homes, churches, and public buildings—the so-called offrendas—are decorated with food to sustain the dead when they emerge from the netherworld. There are flowers and small sugar skulls everywhere, brightly decorated, often with the names of the dead on their foreheads. The skull is not an object of fright, connected with our fear of death, but a sign of pleasure that departed loved ones are returning for just one day. This has little to do with traditional Christian faith, and the tradition probably goes back to the Azteks. According to ancient Mexican beliefs, the dead return from the beyond once a year at harvest time to celebrate a joyful reunion with the living, with music, dance, and good food. The Aztecs did not see death as an ending, but as the beginning of a new life, a transition to a new form of being. After Mexico was conquered by the Spanish colonialists in the sixteenth century, Spanish missionaries were not able to completely repress these Aztec beliefs. Instead they cleverly took elements of it into their Christian practices. The Dia de los Muertos came about through this mix with Christianity, a unique cultural festival in which customs from pre-Spanish Mexico live on to this day.