Día de los Muertos: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Day of the Dead Image

El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that falls on November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebration may be Christian on the surface, but ts origins lie in ancient Zapotec and Maya rituals of ancestor worship.

Day of the Dead celebrations are popular not only in Mexico but also with Mexican immigrants in the United States. In recent years the holiday has been increasingly adopted by the American Anglo population, for whom it coincides nicely with Halloween. Similar festivities are celebrated in various forms in other Latin American countries and overseas.

Contrary to expectations, día de los muertos celebrations are by no means somber affairs. Observations center around the commemoration of departed loved ones, with the first day devoted to infants and children and the second day to adults. Families visit graves or build altars in the home which they decorate with pictures of the deceased, candles, marigolds and food offerings. Happy stories are told about those who have passed on.

Some of the more popular food offerings are pan de muerto, sugar candy skulls (calaveras de azúcar) and beverages like atoles and tequila.

Here is a good site to read aboutabout calaveras de azúcar (Mexican sugar skulls).

Day of the Dead Recipes

Atole

Beverages | Atole Image

(Mexican warm cornmeal beverage)

Atole (ah-TOH-lay) is an ancient Mexican beverage with origins in pre-Columbian times. Similar warm drinks, thickened with cornmeal, are found throughout Central America and are especially popular for breakfast. Mexican atole is traditional at dia de los muertos celebrations, and it's chocolate version, champurrado, is popular at Christmastime. The consistency of atole varies anywhere from almost porridge-like to a thin, pourable drink. Read more »

Pan de Muerto

Breads | Pan de Muerto Image

(Mexican anise-scented bread for the Day of the Dead)

Pan de muerto, or "bread of the dead," is a sweet anise-scented bread served during Mexico's Días de los Muertos celebrations. The bread is offered up at temporary altars to relatives and friends who have passed away. Loaves are typically round and decorated with a knob of dough on top, representing a skull, and with bone-shaped pieces of dough around its perimeter. Pan de muerto is often sprinkled with colored sugar or glazed with orange juice. Read more »

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