Día de los Muertos Explained

Pan de Muertos Source: Culture Trip As the autumnal season continues, the time of Halloween, All Saints’ Day and Día de los Muertos is upon us. To celebrate, we’re bringing you a spine-tingling new slot, the Victorian-era whodunnit called Dark Matter, but we’re also giving you the information you need to celebrate these holidays correctly. Take Día de los Muertos, for example, or the Day of the Dead. This Mexican festivity is one of the country’s most beloved traditions, but people are often incorrect about its meaning. While many believe it to be the country’s answer to Halloween, it is actually a time to honour and pay tribute to the dead, complete with vibrant rituals, fascinating customs and mouth-watering cuisine. Discover the best of Día de los Muertos here and get ready for your new favourite holiday! Tributes and traditions Día de los Muertos is a time for families to get together and remember those they have lost. However, it is not a sombre or dark time, but rather one where people celebrate their loved ones and pay tribute to them. This starts with ofrendas. These are offerings that people make at graves, consisting of food, homemade crafts, items that the deceased enjoyed and other things that they may be able to use in the afterlife. Take a stroll through a Mexican cemetery at this time of year and you will see colourful displays and myriad gifts lining every grave. These tributes also spill over into people’s homes. Most people will have a shrine to the dead, with pictures of their relatives who have passed and the things they have loved around them. These are highly personalised, so they give you a real sense of the person, from their favourite dishes to clothing they wore and past-times they enjoyed. Día de los Muertos is not about grief, it is about remembrance and, most importantly, families coming together. Dinners with family and street fairs with upbeat music and dazzling costumes are key ways to send love to those we have lost. It’s a colourful affair Many of us associate Día de los Muertos with skulls, and for good reason! People regularly take to the streets in skull masks or face paint, but that’s not where the costumes end. Others will dress as La Catrina, a female character created by the cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada in the early 20th century. This skeleton wears a headdress made of colourful flowers, in particular marigolds, which are now a favourite of many woman attending the festivities. When the big day arrives, the streets spill over with these kaleidoscopic outfits, along with multi-coloured food and vividly decorated stalls. The marigold is a particularly important symbol throughout the celebration. In addition to being worn in women’s hair, it is also used in ofrendas, shrines and public decorations. That is because the flowers bloom in the fall and, thanks to their potent aroma, are believed to attract the spirits of the dead. By placing them in decorative displays, people hope to bring the spirits of their loved ones to their homes to share in the fête. Ofrendas at a grave Source: Culture Trip After-care is key If Día de los Muertos’ decorations are a feast for the eyes, then the mingling aromas of the food is what takes this sensory experience to the next level. As you dance your way down the street, you’ll encounter food stalls selling traditional treats that have to be sampled. These vary from region to region, but one thing is certain: the Day of the Dead is a holiday for foodies! Start your culinary voyage with chalupas. These corn tacos are topped with various kinds of meats, cheeses and vegetables and are the perfect appetiser to get the day started. The sound of meat sizzling and the fragrance of the delectable tacos are a staple of any Día de los Muertos festival, but they are far from the only treats on the menu. After a long morning of dancing, singing, walking and exploring, Sopa Azteca is a sure-fire way to get your energy back and prepare for the evening to come. This spicy soup comes with tortilla chips inside and a number of other ingredients on the side, which you can add according to your taste. Pork rinds, onions and peppers are just some of the fillings you can sample in this hearty and filling Día de los Muertos delicacy. What would a party be without something to satisfy your sweet tooth? As you sink your teeth into Pan de Muertos, a burst of sugary sweetness fills your mouth in an experience that cannot be missed. This soft roll melts in the mouth, while the sugar topping adds that honeyed flavour that locals adore. You can wash this down with Champurrado, a traditional drink made from corn, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate that will warm your heart, or Pulque, a relative of tequila made from the sap of the maguey plant. There’s no wrong way to enjoy Día de los Muertos, so the entire menu is worth a look! If you’re interested in new games, you might also like to check this out.


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