Friday, November 2, 2007
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
(Image obtained from http://www.digitalscrapbookplace.com/gallery/data/507/419kskold_dia-de-los-muertos.jpg)
When I am Mexico, I am accustomed to remembering holidays or other important days in the U.S and feeling nostalgic about being away from home. But today I experienced nostalgia about being away from Mexico on an important day. Today marks one of Mexico's most important holidays - Dia de los Muertos. Sounds a bit morbid from the name (and even some of the pictures you might see online, as the Mexicans have this fascination with skeletons), but the sentiment behind this holiday is actually quite beautiful: remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away.
My understanding is that Mexicans believe that the souls of the deceased come back to visit once a year, and in honor of this visit, they create altars in their homes and at gravesites with pictures and sentimental memorabilia of the deceased. They also cook some traditional Day of the Dead foods, as well as foods that their deceased loved ones used to like. One of these traditional items (and one of my favorites) is called Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), and it is a cross between a donut and a huge kaiser roll, but softer and coated in sugar. Sounds gross, I know, but it is delicious and unfortunately only available at bakeries in the days leading up to the holiday.
I feel a bit regretful that we are missing our first Dia de los Muertos in Mexico (even the children at Asha's school are creating altars in their class to place photos of lost loved ones) - I really hope to be in Mexico for this holiday next year.
* Image of altar obtained from http://www.pitzer.edu/offices/cccsi/ontario/tj_trip.asp