Day of the Dead
This week’s blog post I’m going to talk about the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de Muertos in Spanish, which is a very special holiday that is celebrated in not only Mexico but by anyone with Mexican heritage. This holiday is all about remembering friends and family that have died, praying for them and sharing a meal with them. This holiday includes multi day festivities such as creating altars (ofrendas) for offerings, skulls (calavera), and Mexican marigolds (Flor de Muerto). This holiday is very important and colorful! Day of the Dead is always held on November 1st and 2nd.
Creating ofrendas is the most important part of celebrating this holiday. Ofrendas means offerings in Spanish. These altars are created by starting off with a brightly colored cloth over a table then photographs and personal belongings of the departed on top. The bottom of the altar is where offerings are placed. The offerings range from traditional Mexican cuisine to items aligning with the honored person’s personal taste.
Food is a crucial part in celebrating Day of the Dead. Eating specific foods can have different meanings and welcome the spirits of the deceased when placed on the altars. Some of the traditional dishes involved in the festivities include sugar skulls, candied pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), tamales, Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerto), Atole, Mole (dark and rich sauce), and churros. A lot of these recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Each family’s dishes usually have their own twist on ingredients used and are well cherished!
Calaveras (skulls) have a special place for the celebration of Dia de Muertos. Skulls are very significant to this holiday. Sugar skulls which are decorative, are often made by hand, decorated, and offered up to the deceased by being placed on the altars. Skulls are often painted on faces with a smile to laugh at death itself.
Flor de Muerto, also known as Flower of the Dead, is the Mexican Marigold. These are believed to lead the departed to their altars, to feast on their favorite foods, by their bright color and scent. They are also known to symbolize the fragility and beauty of life!
Day of the Dead is a holiday where the living and dead are said to come together to enjoy a meal like they would if they were still alive. It is special because instead of being focused on mourning it is focused on celebrating! It is not only for celebrating death but also life! It is a time when the living and dead gather and are reunited. You can find parades, dancing, games, laughing and eating going on during the festivities.