The Day of the Dead is a very important celebration in México and carries great popular significance, surrounding in various philosophical and material meanings and states of the entire Mexican republic that, together as a family, gather to visit loved ones who have left this world, in the cemeteries or, from home with a traditional altar built with them in mind and to remember them with what they liked to do the most; “Enjoy Mexican food.”
It takes place on November 1 and 2, representing day 1 in memory of the children who have died and day 2, all those adults who have left this earthly plane.
In this celebration, death does not represent an absence but a living presence; it is a symbol of life that materializes on the altar offered. The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout México, having some variations depending on the region.
Its origin is located in the harmony between the celebration of Catholic religious rituals brought by the Spanish and the commemoration of the day of the dead that the natives carried out since pre-Hispanic times; The ancient Mexica, Mixteca, Texcocanos, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Totonacs, and other indigenous peoples of our country, transferred the veneration of their dead to the Christian calendar, which coincided with the end of the agricultural cycle of corn, the country’s main food crop.
In this blog, we will share the most significant characteristics of this celebration and our way of celebrating this important holiday year after year to preserve our customs and traditions.
THE ALTAR OF THE DEAD
It is a fundamental element in the set of Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead, which consists of installing domestic altars in honor of the dead of the family where food, candles, flowers, and objects of daily use of the deceased are placed as an offering.
It represents the union between the old and the new world. It has specific elements that cannot be missing from the Day of the Dead altar, due to its high significant value.
1. White Tablecloth and Salt: The color of the tablecloth and the salt signify purity and joy. The salt serves so that the body of the deceased is not corrupted on the round trip.
2. Water: On the journey of the deceased to our world, water quenches their thirst. In addition, it is an element that symbolizes purity, in which souls can clean themselves.
3. Candles: The candles are the light, faith, and hope. It is the guide for the dead to find their way back to their former home.
4. Copal and Ash Cross: Copal or incense is used to cleanse bad vibes and bad spirits before loved ones return. The ash cross serves for the soul to reach the altar.
5. Calaveritas:The sugar skulls represent human skulls.
6. Papel Picado and Mat: The role is an on-air representation and adds a festive touch to the celebration. The mat is used for the dead to rest and as a tablecloth to place the items on the altar of the dead.
7. Itzcuintli: It is believed that the Itzcuintli is the little dog that helps souls cross the Chiconauhuapan river, the last step to reach Mictlán, the underworld for the Mexica.
8. Flowers: Flowers are a festive symbol for their colors and aromas that will adorn the place where the soul will be. The flower used is that of Cempasúchil, since its color represents the sun that guides the soul of the deceased.
9. Food, drinks, and bread for the dead: Food has the objective of delighting the dead who visit the offering, it is cooked in honor of the remembered beings, so their favorite food is put on the altar for their delight.
10. Portrait: A photograph of the loved one means that they will be the one to visit the offering.
THE BREAD OF DEAD
Traditionally, the bread of the dead is one of the most characteristic symbols of this celebration, it is easy to make and it is delicious. We know that we all love to enjoy delicious bread with coffee or our favorite drink, for this, we bring you the main preparation recipe, so that you can share the flavor and tradition of México with your loved ones.
- 1 kilogram of flour
- 30 grams of instant yeast
- 10 grams of Maximix 40 (Accelerant optional)
- 300 grams of sugar
- 5 grams of salt
- 8 eggs
- 100 grams of butter
- 80 grams of vegetable lard
- 200 millimeters of water (1 Cup)
- Mix the flour with the yeast in the Maximix 40
- Form a crater in the center and add salt, sugar, and butter
- Afterward, slowly beat in the eggs, mixing to perfection
- Add water and knead 30 to 40 minutes or 15 minutes in the blender with the special hook
- Let the dough rest until it doubles in size
- Shape the bread, decorating it with tiny bones made from the same dough with figurines that resemble the skeletons. Brush the surface with an egg and water. To finish, sprinkle the top with either sugar or sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 25 minutes or until done
- The bread is ready when a hollow sound is produced by lightly tapping its underside
Be part of this tradition that we celebrate with much love and enthusiasm year after year at El Cid Resorts hotels. Come and taste our delicious bread of dead at the Aromas cafeteria, located in Mercado de Dolores, or El Cid Castilla Hotel on the beach.