The tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead on November 2 brings many memories of nostalgia to all who have Latin roots and especially those who are of Mexican origin, as our ancestors have remembered this day, full of nostalgia, Hispanic culture and traditions for many centuries. To savor a “day of the dead bread” or also called “bread of the dead” (translated from “Pan de muerto”) is a very traditional connection with these dates.
The Day of the Dead is celebrated a day after All Saints Day and two days after the American holiday of Halloween (or Hallowe’en), which in itself also has many traditions like trick-or-treat in exchange for not doing a prank, disguised by children in costumes and mixing some other reasons to celebrate related to these dates. These days there are those who make poems or verses that mention the day of death and use live characters to speak of them as something sad, but is actually considered a joke and are named “Calaveras” or “Sugar Skulls“, like this which was developed by Jaime Mirman for MexGrocer.com:
Surtida de la “A” a la “Z”
Ganó MexGrocer renombre,
Partió Nacho como un hombre
Que ha conseguido su meta.
As we approach the Day of the Dead its customary to go to the cemetery a few days before and decorate the graves with altars full of photographs or images, sugar skulls, marigolds and Mexican food dishes from the deceased like the ones they liked to eat when they were alive. It is also customary to put these altars of the dead at home and throughout the season to keep remembering the dead. Family members assume that departed souls return to the living to live-in and spend those days at a meeting of souls enjoying together the colorful flowers on the altar with the decorations and then eat all kinds of stews, Mexican recipes, but especially the delicious Pan de Muerto. Here you can see some of these videos of the Day of the Dead.
The Bread of the Dead is a very traditional part of the altars. Their shapes are varied to be the more traditional round balls simulating the limb bones. This round shape consider it like a flower with its petals and pistils, but others say it symbolizes a grave or the shape of a skull surrounded by bone (shin) pointing to the center. The flavor of the bread of the dead is that of a biscuit-based Mexican egg-bread and butter with an aroma of orange blossom (or orange flower) and sprinkled with sugar on top. For the Latino culture it reveres death, honor, and used as a symbol that can be used to play, to chase and that of mocking. That is why there is the tradition of families looking to buy sugar skulls with the name of the individuals that have the name of each family member.
The Day of the Dead altars in Mexico, are decorated with a large number of ornaments, using flowers, candles, religious candles, candy skulls, photographs, crepe paper, pottery, various breads and platters of day of the dead bread, as well as Mexican dishes such as tamales, mole, nopalitos, pozole, atole, chocolate and other Mexican candies and desserts like rice pudding and pumpkin. The “petate” (or “mat” carpet) used in the decoration of the altars and where you put the gifts symbolizes the place where the deceased came to rest to enjoy their meal.
Video Altar Day of the Dead in La Jolla California