The foods of Día de Muertos

Pan de MuertoOn the heels of Halloween is the Mexican celebration Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead, celebrated November 1-2 each year. Day of the Dead celebrations date back to the ancient Aztecs, who felt that instead of mourning the deceased, people should celebrate their lives and welcome their spirits back to the land of the living once a year.

Spanish conquistadors brought Catholic missionaries who exerted their influence on the tradition, and the resulting blending of cultures created the celebration known today. The holiday has spread from Mexico to America and around the world.

Common traditions for this holiday include creating altars to honor the dead, preparing offerings, sharing stories of the deceased, and decorating gravesites. The holiday is a festive day, with many colorful crafts on display. And like most celebrations, Dia de Muertos has its own traditional foods like candied pumpkin, highly decorated sugar skulls, tamales, and pan de muerto or "bread of the dead."

Pan de muerto is a sweetened soft bread shaped into a boule and often decorated with bone-shaped pieces and frequently sprinkled with sugar or sesame seeds. Traditionally it is eaten at the altar (ofrenda) of the deceased, along with his or her favorite foods. Although not a traditional food, theaw eye-popping sugar skull cookies from indexed blog Leite's Culinaria certainly capture the spirit of this holiday.

Photo of Pan de muerto from indexed blog Girlichef

1 Comment

  • ellabee  on  11/1/2014 at 6:13 PM

    It's more often written as 'día de los muertos', day of *the* dead (also reads a little more naturally in Spanish). Some friends of mine got together today to bake pan muerte; I couldn't be there, so appreciate the chance to learn more via EYB!

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