Mexican Food Culture on the Day of the Dead

Mexican food culture is an important part of their Day of the Dead celebrations. The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday celebrated by those of Latin descent to remember family members that have passed away. Although the holiday celebrates the dead, it is not at all scary or even somber, but instead is a festive holiday in which deceased family are thought to pay a visit to the living. Families prepare an altar in their own homes for giving offerings, which include a variety of food items. The food items are set out to feed the souls traveling to their family homes.

Sugar Skulls are one of the Day of the Dead foods that is most popular to leave out for the dead. They are traditionally made from mounds of colored sugar that are pressed into molds and allowed to dry. The skulls are then decorated with icing and occasionally non-edible items. The skulls can be store bought or made the traditional way at home. They are also often inscribed with the names of certain family members.

Another traditional food that is popular to serve on this holiday is Day of the Dead bread, or Pan de Muertos. This special sweet bread is made into a loaf and then coated with an orange glaze. The remaining dough is baked into shapes resembling bones. The bread is also decorated with varieties of colored sugar. In addition a miniature skeleton may be baked into the bread.

Two other types of sweets and a hot drink are also common during the holiday. Candied pumpkin slices and chocolate coffins and skulls are served on the altar. The coffins and skulls are a more modern delicacy and can be served plain or decorated with colored sugar. Much like the sugar skulls, these can be homemade or store bought. To warm the spirits and provide them with nourishment both upon arrival and departure, a warm gruel called Atole is served. The thick drink is made with masa, and often topped with some type of fresh fruit.

In addition to the traditional foods that are served on the altars, other non-traditional foods that the deceased enjoyed are also often served to appease the spirits. These foods can vary from alcoholic beverages to dishes of enchiladas or tacos. Each family has its own tastes, and the special foods served on the Day of the Dead are made to reflect that and to please the spirits.

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Day of the Dead traditions are much more than a Mexican version of Halloween.

In Mexico, a way to honor dead relatives is through the preparing and eating of Day of the Dead food. The Day of the Dead is an event in which families celebrate the return of the spirits of deceased ancestors. To create an atmosphere that any wandering spirit would love to visit, families often prepare dishes enjoyed by their loved ones.

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Day of the Dead altars are set up by families in Mexico to honor family members who have died. These altars are typically bright and colorful and are not designed out of sadness or mourning, but out of joy.

Dia de los Muertos' history reflects early Catholic practices, but the holiday, also known as the "Day of the Dead," has emerged as an Aztec-influenced Mexican celebration with a distinct set of unique traditions. Born and based in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is also celebrated by those of Mexican descent throughout the world.

Her face is one you'd never forget, and she goes by many names like La Catrina, la Flaca, la Huesuda, la Pelona (Fancy, Skinny, Bony, Baldy). No, she's not a model! In Mexico, she's known as La Muerte, Death.

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