Read this in: German
Dia de los muertos – day of the death
For the one or another it can sound a bit strange, but this day is a big celebration in Mexico. It’s different than the American Halloween tradition, which is now spilling to Europe too.
Why I like this day so wonderful and how I celebrate it, you can read here.
P R O D U C T P L A C E M E N T
There are many traditions and customs in Mexico. Unfortunately I only managed to go to Tijuana when I lived in California for a while. I would like to take part in one of these festivals live Mexico.
The Dia de los muertos is about death. It’s about showing respect and love for the dead on those days. In general, the festival starts on 31.10 and ends on 02. November.
Altars are a very important part of the day of the dead. The so-called Ofrenda (offerings) consists of candles, oranges, flowers and parts of personal belongings. Mostly, these altars are more of a private matter. Everyone honors the dead the way he thinks best. Some even work on it for months.
In Mexico, food is used on these days to lure the dead home with their gifts. On the 1st of November traditionally honors the deceased children. The altar is filled with sweets and toys. On the 2nd of November the adults get alcohol, cigarettes, bread (pan de muerto) and various other foods.
Pan de los muertos is a lightly sweet bread with “bonelike” decorations and a sugar coating. My personal variation is pumpkin. I tried the traditional bread and it was a little too bland.
On these days, a flower plays a very special role – the cempasúchil also called Flor de Muerto (flower of the dead). This extraordinary flower is designed to bring the soul of her loved one back to the world of the living. She is very much connected to these festivities.
These small, decorated and colorful skeleton figures are called Calacas. Calacas are happy characters. They play musical instruments or dance. Mexicans believe that every soul should be remembered as a happy one. Death should be a moment of joy.
And that’s the sentence that matters most to me. Death is not a nice thing. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that there is hardly anything joyful about it.
The idea, however, not always to revel in mourning, because you can not do anything anyway. Death is inevitable and no human will ever rise from the dead again. You will never see your loved one again. But the fact that the souls are happier, even though we are happy, I like that. I would like to think about it and believe in it.
“People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.”
My personal day
On this day is celebrated with family and friends. The dead are honored and we do not sadly reminisce, but celebrate the happy moments that we could spend together. For this day I have come up with a special menu.
My table decoration is a little simpler than the classic Mexican decoration. A bit of extraordinary dishes and classic ingredients.
“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow, and I am in them, and that is eternity.” Edvard Munch
As a starter there are ravioli with pumpkin filling and pumpkin puree. And tomato with parsley on carrot carpaccio.
My appetizer consists of a herbal salad, avocado, dates, caramelized walnuts, apples and light knobi vinaigrette.
“We never bury the dead, son. We take them with us. It’s the price of living.” — Mark Goffman and Jose Molina, “Sleepy Hollow ”
Stuffed ravioli with cheese and minced pork roast with tomatoes, red chili and mangetout. A touch of cheese. Only in good olive oil and garlic fried without further sauces.
Bei diesem Gang habe ich eine Variation mit Fisch gewählt. Kartoffel/Fischpuffer mit Frischkäse / Rote Beete und karamellisierten Tomaten.
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” George Eliot
Since dessert is always so important and I can never decide between fruit and something sweet, I’ve just made both variations.
Fresh mango with pomegranate and mint.
Cream brule with apple compote of red apple and a pinch of cinnamon.
“But, rather than be sad, wouldn’t it be a lot better to face our own death knowing that our life had been lived to the fullest and without regret? Even though we may not want to face death, it is inevitable just as it is for the setting sun each evening.” –
Byron Pulsifer, The View From A Hospital Window
Dia de los muertos can be seen as a tradition. However, if you just want to celebrate the day, you can do that as well.
I will repeat this tradition every year and believe that the beloved soul is with me that day and celebrates with me and my family and friends and is happy.
I have been asked several times on Instagram, where did I get the plates? I found the dishes at the laundry in Hamburg. I must confess that I have really struggled. There was so much choice of this kind of dishes. Should I go for a light version or darker? Classic or extraordinary. I had to decide and found these plates in different colors and shapes. Prices are between 7.90 € and 9.90 €.
I love it. I think that the dishes are very different. Especially because usually I’m more of a classic type with white dishes.
Thank you very much die Wäscherei!