Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feb 2 - Day of "La Candelaria"

For the indigenous people the purification cycle initiated with this celebration "Fiesta de la Candelaria" followed by Easter and the rest of the Catholic celebrations that were introduced by the Spaniards. This festivity has been commemorated since the colonial times in Mexico and represents the harvest and the 4 seasons which define their religious, social, commercial and cultural life.
This festivity involves dances, processions, music, theatrical representations, fireworks, food and of course the Baby Jesus blessing.
In Mexico the tradition of Dia de la Candelaria is that those who got the little Baby Jesus on the Rosca de Reyes will need to perform some tasks as they have become Baby Jesus' godparents.
As a godparent you are supposed to take Baby Jesus from the nativity scene, dress him up, present him to the community Church and take care of him for the whole year until the next Rosca de Reyes is sliced. Also he or she would be one of the hosts for the atole and tamales feast.

This ritual was born due to a mix of two cultures and religions: The Catholic religion which refers to the Virgin Mary who took baby Jesus to the temple, and the prehispanic culture where Tamales where offered to honor their Gods Tláloc, a Chalchiuhtlicue (water Gods) and the tlaloques (Gods helpers), who made the water go down to Earth and feed their harvest.
This Festivity's name, "Candelaria" which means Candles comes from the Spanish ritual of honoring Virgin of Candelaria.

Here, far away from our Mexican roots, we found the ingredients and spirit to celebrate this tradition. So..... tamales and atole were served to keep us warm on this crazy snowy day which brought around 25cm of snow.

Happy Dia de la Candelaria!


Tamales Dough
2 cups of Nixtamalized corn flour to make tamales (Minsa Brand)

2 cups of Chicken stock or water
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 cup of lard
15 corn husks dried

In a pot bring water to a boil and add the dried husks until soft and manageable. Meanwhile, in a mixer, blend the lard until light and fluffy. I
n a separate bowl add the corn flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the chicken stock to the dry ingredients and mix well. Once everything is well incorporated mix the dough with the lard and make sure once m ore everything is well incorporated.
Once the husks are soft, open them and spread the dough in the middle of the husk, then put the filling in the centre and roll the husk in order to cover all the filling. In a steamer put all the tamales together and cook for almost 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.

For the Atole I used David's recipe and was super super delicious.....



  1. Thanks dor sharing this tradition, the food looks terrific.

  2. Your tamales look delicious. If only I could find cork husks here in Spain...

  3. I heard of this but have never tried it! Looks and sounds great!