Sunday, November 8, 2009

Celebrating the day of the dead!

So, Halloween came and went in an instant and soon Christmas will be here.... Life goes by pretty quickly and Mexicans know how to joke and have a good laugh from it. One of the festivities I love the most from the Mexican culture is the way people celebrate the Day of the Dead on Nov 1st all Saints' Day and Nov 2nd All Souls' Day. Traditions include building altars for friends and family members who have died.

There are lots of details in those altars; people cook the favourite food of the departed, light candles to guide them on their way back and place glasses with water so they don't get thirsty when they come down to visit us. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Families visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (offerings), which often include orange marigolds called xempoalxochitl. These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children, and bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or jars of atole for adults. Pillows and blankets are left out so that the deceased can rest after their long journey. Is part of the tradition to write creative and fun poems as well, called "calaveras" (skulls), mocking epitaphs of friends or funny anecdotes.

One of the best things from this celebration is that you get to eat lots and lots of "Pan de Muerto" or Bread of the Dead which is a type of sweet bread that is very yummy. I was really worried that I wouldn't get the chance to taste it this year ...So I decided to bake "Pan de Muerto". Why not?!.. I mean, I do love to cook. I started looking for online recipes and found really crappy ones BUT.. ended up finding one from a Mexican baker which was great. It has been the most complicated recipe I have ever made! I spent a whole day working on the bread and kneading the dough for almost 45 mins.... it's not an easy task. But I did it!! I made Pan de Muerto and it was great!!!!...

Even though I am not in Mexico we had the chance to celebrate this festivity at Harbourfront Centre. Every year the Mexican embassy organizes it. We heard mariachi, saw great costumes and enjoy the Day of the Dead in Canada.

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